Cuban pianist Dayramir Gonzalez (recently welcomed as a Yamaha Artist) has innovative style, energetic performance, and impressive diversity shining through on his upcoming album,
The Grand Concourse. Serving as the follow up to his 2007 debut, this record is defined by the voyage of a young artist from Havana whose creation of musical works sheds light on the gems of traditional Cuban sentiments, contemporary Afro-Cuban jazz, and the vanguard sounds of New York.
Extending the concept of his debut album Dayramir & Habana enTRANcé, Gonzalez continues the Cuban musical feast on The Grand Concourse with songs featuring GRAMMY® Award-nominated guest artists like Pedrito Martinez, Yosvany Terry, and Oriente Lopez in special musical configurations that span string quartet, full orchestra, solo piano, choir, and Afro Cuban jazz septet.
With songs like "Situaciones en 12/8," a purely Afro-Cuban jazz sentiment driven by pulsating rhythms, or his contemporary approach to Cuban classical music on the orchestral chamber piece "Sencillez," to more contemporary popular Cuban sounds found on "Iyesa con Miel" (a tribute to the Yoruba goddess Ochun), whose melody is carried by the iconic voice of Martinez, Gonzalez's music is defined by just that: the diverse spectrum of musical genres executed with virtuosity, approached with a contemporary perspective that maintains an underlying Cuban savor.
"This is an ambitious project that doesn't present me as only a pianist or improviser, but also as a composer, arranger, orchestrator, and bandleader," says Gonzalez. "For me, making an album is always about creating a full and complete piece of art, where I have a palette of different colors to choose from and can paint all those sounds that float in my head."
Gonzalez was born in the humble Havana neighborhood of Cerro, during what is referred to in Cuba as "the special period" and known as one of the toughest economic times in Cuba's history. Although the island severely lacked many of the basic necessities, it continued to support and promote musical education on the island.
Gonzalez's young life centered on music. His father, Fabian Gonzalez (a successful Afro-Cuban jazz trumpet player) became a driving force and inspiration in his musical development. At the age of eight, he began attending Paulita Concepcion Elementary School of Music, where he found his instrument, the piano. He was later accepted to Cuba's famed National High School for the Arts (ENA).
Gonzalez kept busy during his time at ENA. In his first year there, at the age of 16, former Irakere singer and percussionist Oscar Valdes discovered him. He was invited to become a founding member, pianist, and composer for Diakara. After three successful years with Oscar, Cuban drumming legend Giraldo Piloto found Gonzalez and invited him to join Klimax, with whom he would perform and record with for the next six years.
In 2004, he won first place in performance at the annual JoJazz Festival and competition known as Havana's top venue for up and coming jazz performers. In 2005, he won first place in the composition category and won his first record deal with the national record label Colibri. He recorded his first album with his recently founded group Habana enTRANCé, which became for him the perfect platform to develop his skills as artist, bandleader, and composer. This album would later win three Cubadisco, known as the Grammys of Cuba, for Best Debut Album, Best Jazz Album, and Best Engineered Recording.
Gonzalez was accepted to the prestigious Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) in Havana, where he spent four years studying composition with renowned professor Juan Piñera. Even with his intensified workload and studies, Gonzalez was invited by now longtime friend and mentor Chucho Valdés to open the Havana Jazz Festival in 2008.
In 2009, Gonzalez received an exciting invitation to prepare an application and audition for the venerable Berklee School of Music in Boston. His acceptance to the school made him the first Cuban national to receive a full scholarship. In 2011, in only his second year at the institution, Gonzalez was signed by Berklee's Jazz Revelation Records. In that same year, he was selected as one of the top five pianists in Berklee's annual Piano Gala, performing at the Berklee Performance Center.
In 2012, he was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall as part of their Voices of Latin America series, along with Chucho Valdés, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Danilo Perez, Egberto Gismonti and Aldo Lopez-Gavilan. In 2013, Gonzalez graduated Berklee Summa Cum Laude after receiving the Wayne Shorter Award for Most Outstanding Composer of the Year.
Dayramir Gonzalez · The Grand Concourse
Digital Release Date: March 2, 2018 · Physical Release: June 15, 2018