Release date: February 24, 2023
Label: Worldwide Entertainment
Havana Nocturne is the new album by renowned musical artist and multi-GRAMMY Award winner Aymée Nuviola.
A master song interpreter with universal appeal, Aymée Nuviola is one of the most celebrated artists of her generation. Known as the La Sonera del Mundo, Nuviola’s powerful artistry and captivating performance style has won hearts all over the world. Throughout her storied career (which includes Nuviola’s starring turn as the titular role in the Celia Cruz inspired Telemundo series Celia, 2017), she has consistently kept Cuban music at the forefront while displaying impressive musical versatility.
In recent years, Nuviola has made overtures into the jazz realm, notably with two recent recordings alongside GRAMMY winning pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Last year, the duo won a Latin GRAMMY for Live in Marciac (5Passion, 2022), and it’s precursor, Viento y Tiempo: Live at the Blue Note Tokyo (Top Stop Music, 2020) went on to gain a GRAMMY nomination too. Now with Havana Nocturne, Nuviola displays her assured command of the jazz language while paying tribute to her enchanting native city of Havana. Featuring acclaimed pianist Kemuel Roig, this elegant 13-track collection takes its cues from filin, a Cuban musical movement described as jazz-influenced romantic song that rose to prominence in the early-mid 20th century in Havana.
Influenced by the cultural climate of the United States, the filin movement took hold in Cuba in the late 1940’s and carried through to the early 1960’s. The word itself is derived from “feeling”, and its musical roots can be traced to the bolero and canción. A rhapsodic time, this movement was transformative for Havana as a constellation of singers and composers of this style emerged. Influenced by the popular jazz vocalists of the day, dashed with some Debuyssian impressionist, as well as the traditional Cuban son and bolero, el filin celebrated the beauty of the city, and gatherings around this music became the centerpiece of Cuban social life with jam sessions, house parties and concerts ubiquitous.
Though born after the height of the filin movement, this powerful and emotional music reached Nuviola as a young girl and made an indelible impression. Since the earliest days of her professional career, filin and bolero have been present in her music and have served as a throughline across her many recordings and live shows. She has even earned the moniker The Voice of El Filin of Her Generation. On Havana Nocturne, Nuviola comes full circle as she brings this style to the forefront.
Nuviola’s key collaborator is Kemuel Roig – an exceptional pianist whose 2020 jazz debut Genesis earned him a four star review from Jazzwise Magazine. Produced by Paulo Simeón, Havana Nocturne finds Nuviola and Roig among an intimate ensemble made up of Lowell Ringel on bass, Hilario Bell on drums, José “Majito” Aguilera on percussion and Julián Ávila on guitar. Throughout the gripping program, Nuviola takes listeners on an engaging journey through the enchanting streets of Havana, and offers her singular take on classic compositions by iconic Cuban composers José Antonio Méndez (“Me faltabas tú” and “Novia Mía”), César Portillo de la Luz (“Realidad y Fantasía”), Ángel Díaz (“Rosa mustia”), and Nino Rivera (“El Jamaiquino’). Nuviola pays tribute to these musical pioneers while also shining a light on their successors including Marta Valdés (“Tú no sospechas”), Frank Domínguez (“Imágenes”) and Meme Solís, whose early bolero “De la misma forma”, remained unrecorded until now. A particular highlight is her emotive performance of “Me contaron de ti” by the great Cuban-American composer René Touzet
Havana Nocturne features the work of non-Cuban composers as well, and each track uncovers a new side of the charismatic and seemingly limitless Nuviola. “Obsesión” by Puerto Rican composer Pedro Flores begins as a bolero before moving to a driving and seductive cha-cha. On “Perfidia” by Alberto Domínguez of Mexico, and the closing duo tango “Vete de mí” (by Argentinian pianist/composer Virgilio Expósito), Nuviola displays an impressive fluidity while traversing genres and styles with ease. Her original contribution “Quédate” is an ode to the filinero style, and one of the album’s most endearing performances.
NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORD
“But the heart of the album is Nuviola’s passionate singing on dramatic and melodramatic ballads.” Read the full review in the March 2023 issue here.
RAUL DA GAMA
LATIN JAZZ NET
"Though she has a profound and powerful voice, Miss Nuviola does not overpower gently eloquent contributions of the ensemble, but simply inspires it to rise to great heights." Read the review here.
NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORD
“The singer’s newest release [is a] quintet studio recording awash in the sounds and feel of Havana nightlife. Here the singer taps into the Cuban filin, a style blending “vocal jazz, Debussy’s impressionism and the tradition of the Cuban son and bolero,” according to the liner notes. Both sides of Nuviola’s musical persona deserve attention." Read the VOX News piece here.
ROOTS MUSIC REPORT
"Displaying impressive musical versatility, Nuviola’s overtures into the jazz realm yield bountiful rewards. As a filinera, Nuviola captures a time passed but also current feelings and emotions that remain beautiful and healing." Read the five star review here.
"The tracks here take cues from the Cuban musical Filin, and the romantic jazz nods are certainly present and appreciated as Nuviola and company bring much passion and emotion. " Read the full review here.
DARK BLUE NOTE
"The album was conceived by Gregory Elias, the founder of Top Stop Music, the label that brought Rubalcaba together with Latin star Aymée Nuviola in 2019 and released the first two albums of this partnership." Check out the full review here.