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Alfredo Rodriguez, Pedrito Martinez juxtapose riffs at WinterJazzfest

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This year, for the first time, Winter Jazzfest extended over two weekends and held a half-marathon in Greenwich Village in six venues on the first Saturday of January, followed by the full and classic two-night marathon the following weekend.

After a long break, the night at SubCulture culminated in a Cuban firestorm, a mesmerizing duet of superstars from the Cuban jazz scene: Grammy-nominated pianist Alfredo Rodríguez and percussionist Pedrito Martinez. Both are lauded for their virtuosic performances, but each bring two uniquely rich worlds to the musical table. Rodriguez has the classical training of Havana's renowned and rigorous conservatories; Martinez's virtuosity emerged in the renowned Old Havana barrio of Cayo Hueso, and was forged in the sacred drumming of Cuban Santería. Together, these two masters traded and juxtaposed riffs, laughing and delighting themselves and concertgoers in the deliciousness of their musical conversation, Martinez transitioning back and forth from traditional Cuban percussion to drum set as they moved through a set that included material from their upcoming album, Duologue, as well as some Cuban standards. Those in attendance even were treated to a jazzy moment of flamenco, when Rodriguez invited vocalist/saxophonist Antonio Lizana to accompany and sing a soaring lament.

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