Sign up for our free newsletter
Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.
Any pianist with training in Afro-Cuban jazz can play tender, introspective lyricism and slashing, pounding rhythms with similar ease. But to pivot back and forth between those styles with no apparent transition, the way Alfredo Rodriguez does, is to demonstrate a whole other stratum of talent. This explains why Quincy Jones served as both his mentor and the producer of Rodriguez’s second album, Tocororo—lest we forget, Jones was once among the shrewdest of jazz composers, arrangers, and bandleaders. (That he has the ear for picking out top-shelf talent we surely won’t forget.) His protégé is on the same path, crafting beautiful melodies that are perhaps topped by the choices he makes in performing them—including his sudden breaks into delirious Caribbean groove. After just two releases, Rodriguez is well on his way to a long and fruitful career in jazz. Catch him now, at the cusp of it. The Alfredo Rodriguez Trio performs at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland, Stadium Drive and Route 193, College Park. $10–$25. (301) 405-2787. theclarice.umd.edu.