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Cuban pianist/composer Fabian Almazan releases his debut album “Personalities”

Fabian Almazan‘s debut, Personalities (Biophilia Records), reveals his penchant for musical storytelling with well-crafted originals and well-chosen covers. Born in Cuba, raised in Miami and based in New York City, the pianist and composer, 27, has apprenticed with Terence Blanchard and is a recent fellow of the Sundance Film Composer’s Lab.
iTunes has announced they will feature the track “The Vicarious Life” from Personalities as a weekly iTunes Discovery Download. This is remarkable not only because this is Almazan’s debut recording, but because it is very rare for instrumental jazz to be given such a wide platform.
Almazan’s trio is comprised of bassist Linda Oh and drummer Henry Cole, both Manhattan School of Music classmates. 
“They are both very open-minded musicians with a fearless ability to turn on a dime if the music takes a different direction,” Almazan says in a news release. “Needless to say, they have profound command over their respective instruments.” The trio is augmented by a string quartet featuring violinists Meg Okura and Megan Gould, violist Karen Waltuch and cellist Noah Hoffeld.
True to the album title, the music is about people that have impacted Almazan’s life so far. The inspirations for his compositions range from tributes to his grandmothers and mother (“Grandmother Song,” “Una Foto”), overheard conversations about atheism (“Sin Alma”), stage parents at adolescent piano recitals (“The Vicarious Life”) and socio-economic reflections (“H.U.Gs”). About the latter, a tune that finds Almazan unravelling lines on Fender Rhodes, he says, “‘H.U.Gs’ stands for Historically Under-represented Groups. As I understand the acronym, it is used in scientific papers that deal with the environmental conditions in lower socio-economic communities. I wanted to write something that would embody the struggle that generations of abused and manipulated people have had to overcome to achieve equality.”
The evocative narratives on Personalities reflect Almazan’s self-described “international citizen” worldview, as well as his work as a film composer. His relationship to music can be summed up thusly: “I have learned that music has an uncomplicated purpose, which is to make you feel something. There are an endless amount of options on how to achieve that simple purpose.”