A look inside The Jazz Gallery

Photo courtesy of Esther Cidoncha

Photo courtesy of Esther Cidoncha

The Wall Street Journal‘s Larry Blumenfeld praises Román Filiú‘s new album, Musae, as “a new, strong statement.” All About Jazz describes the recording, which is the latest release on Dafnis Prieto‘s label Dafnison Music, as “an all-original, post-modern set of music built around deep thoughts that are occasionally long and free ranging, yet peripatetic and completely controlled.” Musae showcases the reedist’s ruminating compositions, and the saxophone stylings that he has lent to the bands of Chucho Valdes, Paquito D’Rivera, David Murray, and Doug Hammond, among several others.

Román was born and raised in Cuba. The reedist comes from a musical family; his father is a musician and teacher of European classical music, and all of his siblings are also musicians. Although resources were abundant for his classical studies, Román was forced to learn about improvisation through his grandfather’s illegal interceptions of a jazz radio show from Miami, which was outlawed by the Cuban government. Román honed his improvisatory skills outside of the classroom, but his schooling in the European classical tradition earned him an appreciation for Debussy and Hindemith, and also helped foster lifelong relationships with excellent musicians, including the pianists Aruan Ortiz and David Virelles, whom he still plays with today.

After completing his studies, Román moved to Havana to begin his career as a professional musician. He was based there for eight years, recording frequently and traveling internationally with a variety of projects. After working steadily for four years as a member of a salsa band, Román began playing with Chucho Valdes‘ “Irakere” band, a renowned group whose roster included such luminaries as Paquito D’Rivera.

The reedist spent eight years in Havana before packing his bags and heading for Spain. His time in the country was “a beautiful experience,” and he began to play with several musicians across Europe and abroad, including elder statesmen like David Murray and Doug Hammond. Yet Román had his eyes on New York, and finally moved to the city in September of 2011. Although he’s only been here a short time, he’s quickly becoming a part of the city’s vibrant music scene, performing with his own groups as well as those led by David Virelles, David Murray, and Dafnis Prieto, among others.

On Saturday, The Jazz Gallery will present Román for the second time, in celebration of his new album. The lineup will feature the pianist David Virelles, and the guitarist Adam Rogers, both of whom are on the recording, as well as the drummer Craig Weinrib and a bassist to be announced.

To get an idea of what you can expect to hear on Saturday, stream the album below:

Read our 2012 interview with Román here.