For a fledgling musician, having Quincy Jones single you out as someone he wants to work with is the musical equivalent of winning the lottery. It marks a dividing line between all that has been and a very bright future.

This is exactly what happened for the young Cuban sensation Alfredo Rodriguez. The classically-trained, jazz pianist was already making a name for himself with his energetic, unique style, and was one of twelve pianists from around the world selected to play at the prestigious Montreaux Jazz Festival in 2006. That’s where Quincy Jones first saw Rodriguez, and Jones was so impressed that he decided right then that he had to work with him.

Now backed by one of the greatest living producers, the career path of the Havana-born Rodriguez – who lists Bach, Beethoven and Stravinsky, alongside Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock and Jones as his primary influences – was set for the stars. In Jones, Rodriguez found a musical icon who could open the right doors, a mentor who could guide his path and a veteran musician who could help him avoid show business pitfalls. In Rodriguez, Jones found a bright new musician who he considers among the most talented he has ever seen. “He is very special, and I do not say that easily,” Jones says. “I’ve been surrounded by the best musicians in the world my entire life and he is one of the best.”

In 2009 Rodriguez made the difficult decision to leave Cuba to pursue a music career in the US. He has since taken his music to the international stage, playing jazz festivals and concerts across the globe. His debut album is set for an early 2011 release.

Rodriguez brings his dynamic style, masterful skill and magnetic personality to the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga as part of the Carriage House Concert Series on Sunday Nov. 14 at 7:30pm.

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