Volcan is an all-star group that is the product of years of friendship, respect and a diverse, rich, musical heritage. The four friends are Jose Armando Gola, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Giovanni Hidalgo and Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Their new recording, Volcan (Passion 5 Records, 2013), embodies that camaraderie.
Gola plays fretted and fretless electric bass. Hernandez is the drummer. Hidalgo plays congas and percussion. And Rubalcaba plays acoustic and electric pianos, Kurzeil, Korg and Virus synths. Special guest Maridalia Hernandez provides the vocal on “Corsario,” which also is presented as an instrumental piece. The recorded voice of Dizzy Gillespie is mixed with the group’s arrangement of Gillespie’s “Salt Peanuts.”
After the free-spirited opening track, “Volcan,” the group lays down a mellow groove with “Volcan Durmiente.” Rubalcaba plays both pianos over subtle bass lines, congas and cymbal crashes. After an elegant acoustic piano lead, he switches to one of the synths briefly before coming back to the electric piano to close the song.