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Alfredo Rodriguez at the DIA, 3 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitafirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twit

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Music is the family business for Alfredo Rodriguez.

The pianist was born in Havana to a singer/songwriter/TV personality father, also named Alfredo. The younger Rodriguez studied classical piano and then began playing jazz, selected as one of the international pianists for the 2006 Montreux Jazz Festival where he was discovered by Quincy Jones, who became a mentor and patron. That led to, among other things, being part of the all-star “Better City, Better Life” anthem for the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai and four albums for Harper Woods’ Mack Avenue Records.

Rodriguez is currently promoting his latest effort, “The Little Dream,” which Jones again co-produced...

• On “The Little Dream,” Rodriguez, 32, stripped his sound back to a rudimentary piano-bass-drums format. “I’ve wanted to do a trio album for so long,” he says by phone. “Previous recordings have been based on the trio but also had so many collaborations, so many musicians from around the world. I’ve been honored by that, but I wanted to do this as a trio.”

• Rodriguez also calls the album his “response to our current world climate” and particularly DACA and issues surrounding immigrants and Dreamers in his chosen homeland. “Of course that affects my life,” says Rodriguez, who moved to the U.S. seeking political asylum. “I just hope for the world to be together instead of separate; This translates into all aspects of life, including music. When I listen to (‘The Little Dream’) it has, in my opinion, a very positive message, and that was my intention. I always find myself, when I’m at the piano, finding hope and, again, I think children are the hope of the world and that’s medicine for my soul. I hope if people listen to the album they get inspired to try to create a better world.”

• Rodriguez has been able to “go back and forth and visit my family” in Cuba, and he’s hoping that recent changes in restrictions between his two countries will allow him to spend more time there as a musician, too. “They haven’t wanted me too much there, musically,” Rodriguez says. “I left, you know. So it can be very difficult. It is what it is. But I’m always trying to put Cuba and Cuban culture into what I do, because that’s who I am.”

If You Go:

• Alfredo Rodriguez

• 7 p.m. Friday, April 6.

• Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave.

• The performance is free with admission.

• Call 313-833-9700 or visit dia.org.

Web Site: www.dia.org

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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