Born in Havana, Cuba, Alfredo Rodríguez trained in the famous Manuel Saumell Elementary Classical Music Conservatory until his lucky break came in 2006 when he was selected as one of two Cubans to play at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival. At the famed festival, Rodríguez was noticed by Quincy Jones. The two stayed in touch after the festival, but because of the problems between the U.S. and Cuba, they couldn’t work together.
For three years, Alfredo struggled with the difficult decision of whether to leave behind his home country and his family in pursuit of his dreams. On January 15, 2009, Alfredo, like so many Cubans before him, decided to defect from Cuba to pursue his music on the world stage. In his first year since arriving in the United States, Rodríguez has played to capacity crowds at the Playboy Jazz Festival, the SXSW Music Festival, the Detroit Jazz Festival, the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Newport Jazz Festival, and the San Francisco Jazz Festival. Both his New York and his Los Angeles club debuts sold out.
Opening for Herbie Hancock and others, Alfredo played for 18,000 fans at the LA Symphony’s official welcome for Gustavo Dudamel at the Hollywood Bowl. He also guested on Jones’ latest album Soul Bossa Nostra in addition to working with the music producer on his debut album Sounds of Space. Rodríguez returns to the Bay Area for an evening at Kuumbwa Jazz in Santa Cruz before a run of performances in the SFJAZZ Center’s intimate Joe Henderson Lab with his high-powered rhythm section featuring drummer Henry Cole and bassist Ricky Rodriguez.
Wednesday, April 23, 7:30 p.m. $22—$27
Kuumbwa Jazz Center
Thursday-Sunday, April 24-27, 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sun.) $30
Joe Henderson Lab at SFJAZZ Center