Down Beat (4/95) - 4 Stars - Very Good - "...Rubalca proves he's worth every word of praise he has yet received. He's rhythmically forceful, technically dazzling and not afraid of harmonically amgbiguous material, which he controls like a master. And when Rubalcaba aims at the heart, he's an expert marksman..."
Option (5-6/95, p.127) - "...an exuberant celebration of the masters of the bebop era...The spontaneity level is so high I wonder if these aren't mostly first takes..."
Personnel: Gonzalo Rubalcaba (piano); Ron Carter (bass); Julio Barretto (drums).
Recorded at McClear Pathe, Toronto, Canada on December 14 & 15, 1993. Includes liner notes by Gonzalo Rubalcaba.
Although one might assume that having the title of Diz means that this set would be a tribute to Dizzy Gillespie, only four of the nine selections were actually associated with the great trumpeter; the other numbers range from Bird and Bud Powell to Benny Golson and Charles Mingus ("Smooch"). Gonzalo Rubalcaba makes each of the jazz standards his own by reharmonizing the chord structures, playing in his own dense style and coming up with fresh new statements rather than just re-creating bebop. He is quite lyrical and somber on the ballads, makes "Donna Lee" unrecognizable, and (with the assistance of bassist Ron Carter and drummer Julio Barreto) modernizes all of the potential warhorses. This is a very interesting workout. ~ Scott Yanow