In 2006, Quincy Jones returned from the Swiss Montreux Jazz Festival where he was a judge in the International Solo Piano Competition. He saw many pianists perform and upon return to the US, he decided he wanted to work with “that particular pianist”, Alfredo Rodriguez, because he was one of the best pianists Quincy had ever seen.
Alfredo is Cuban, living in Havana, and had only given permission to travel to Switzerland to play in the competition because he was one of two pianists representing Cuba. A few years later, after permanent contact with Quincy and his team, Alfredo decided to cross the Cuban-Mexican borders despite the dangers. He succeeded in getting to the US borders with the help of a Mexican officer who was compassionate to Alfredo and his dreams.
In 2009, Quincy Jones asked Darlene Chan who runs Festivals and worked for him, to book Alfredo in major jazz festivals such as the Hollywood Bowl, Detroit, Newport, JVC, San Francisco, Monterrey and many others. Alfredo soon landed his first agent, and his label - Mack Avenue Records - and went on to play in many of the world's most prestigious stages. Last year, Alfredo was nominated for his first Grammy Award, ceremony attended by his family who have since, left Cuba as well.