Cuba's Harold López-Nussa is a gifted pianist whose immense skills have found him playing sophisticated post-bop jazz and Cuban and Afro-Latin rhythms. Born Harold López-Nussa Torres in Havana in 1983, López-Nussa was raised in a musical family with parents who were both musicians. His uncle, Ernán Lopez-Nussa, is also a pianist of note. From age eight, he studied classical piano, first at the Manuel Saumell Elementary School of Music and the Amadeo Roldán Conservatory, and he later graduated from the Instituto Superior de Artes. Around age 18 he discovered jazz, a passion that would remain his main creative focus.
After leaving school, López-Nussa gained early notice touring with vocalist Omara Portuondo and recording Heitor Villa-Lobos' Fourth Piano Concerto with Cuba's National Symphony Orchestra in 2003. In 2005, his profile was raised even higher after he won the First Prize and Audience Prize of the Jazz Solo Piano Competition at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. He also appeared on albums by such diverse artists as guitarist Leo Brouwer, Gilles Peterson, and the jazz supergroup Ninety Miles, alongside vibraphonist Stefon Harris, trumpeter Christian Scott, and tenor saxophonist David Sánchez. In 2007, he made his solo debut with Canciones. Two years later, he returned with Herencia, followed by 2011's El Pais de las Maravillas and 2013's New Day.
In 2015, López-Nussa collaborated with Senegalese bassist/vocalist Alune Wade on the Afro-Latin album Havana - Paris - Dakar. The following year, he paired again with Wade for Viaje, a similarly Afro-Latin-leaning album that also featured his brother, drummer Ruy Adrián López-Nussa, as well as guest appearances from his father Ruy Francisco López-Nussa, trumpeter Mayquel González, and percussionists Dreiser Durruthy and Adel González. ~ Matt Collar