The Berrie Center Introduces Harold Lopez-Nussa Trio

Photo by Hope Patti

Jazz music resonated throughout the Berrie Center on Saturday night, as the Harold Lopez-Nussa Trio entertained the audience with funky, upbeat arrangements blended with a humorous stage presence.

Before introducing the Trio, Ramapo’s Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Bobby Dietch, stepped onstage to perform four songs. Dietch welcomed alumna and vocalist Michelle Encarnacion to the stage during their third song.

The Jazz Ensemble concluded their performance with their rendition of ‘Tequila,’ which featured Harold Lopez-Nussa himself on piano. Lopez-Nussa’s piano solo added a unique sound to the song, which was originally labeled as rock and roll.

Following a short intermission, the Trio was introduced to the stage and immediately dove into their performance. When Lopez-Nussa finally did introduce himself and the two other musicians on stage, he quickly conjured laughter from the audience. He introduced himself and his brother who played the drums, Ruy Lopez-Nussa, as two musicians who come from Cuba. Then he introduced Luques Curtis on bass as a good friend, and playfully added, “He’s just from Connecticut.”

Lopez-Nussa’s arrangements fused together Cuban sounds with jazz melodies. Throughout their performance, the audience embraced the music by dancing in their seats and the Berrie Center staff danced along in the back.

Preceding the performance of his second song, Lopez-Nussa got a chuckle from the audience when he jokingly apologized for what he was about to play, claiming that it was the first song he ever arranged. Lopez-Nussa once again created an uproar of laughter when he introduced his next song, titled ‘Small Car.’ He awkwardly explained that the song was written about a small, slow Polish car that he drove back in Cuba.

Following the performance of ‘Small Car,’ Lopez-Nussa invited Encarnacion back to the stage for their next performance. She impressed the audience in addition to the musicians with her vocals.

Curtis left the stage for the next performance, which included Lopez-Nussa and his brother playing piano together. Ruy sat down next to his brother, half way through their performance Ruy got up and danced over to sit on the opposite side of his brother and continued to do this a few more times until they were finished.

After spending two days at Ramapo conducting workshops and rehearsing with the jazz ensemble, Lopez-Nussa’s trio concluded their time at Ramapo with an exceptional performance.