Recently nominated for a Grammy for his work on Terence Blanchard’s Breathless, pianist and composer Fabian Almazan found his musical roots as a child in his homeland of Havana where he first became involved in the classical piano tradition. When his parents could not afford to pay for private piano lessons after they had migrated to Miami, pianist Conchita Betancourt was gracious enough to impart free lessons for over three years. Thanks to Betancourt’s exceeding generosity, Almazan was able to audition for Miami’s New World School of the Arts High School where he studied from 1998 to 2002. He then attended the Brubeck Institute’s Fellowship Program in Northern California where he studied with Mark Levine and performed with Dave Brubeck and Christian McBride. In 2003, Almazan moved to New York City to study with Kenny Barron and Garry Dial at the Manhattan School of Music. He also studied instrumentation and orchestration with Giampaolo Bracali. In 2009, he received a master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music and was selected as a recipient of the Michael W. Greene Scholarship, which enabled him to study privately with Jason Moran.
Almazan has written several film scores and can be heard on several Spike Lee films as well as George Lucas’s Red Tails, among other films.
In 2014, Almazan was voted #1 “Rising Star” for piano in DownBeat’s Critics Poll and was granted a Chamber Music America New Jazz Works commission. He was also selected as one of six composers to participate in the Sundance Composers Lab where he studied with such acclaimed film composers as Harry Gregson-Williams, Alan Silvestri, George S. Clinton, Christopher Young, Ed Shearmur, and Peter Golub. Since 2007, he has been the pianist for Terence Blanchard’s various bands including the E-Collective.
Almazan’s solo albums, Personalities, which was released on his own record label Biophilia Records, and Rhizome (ArtistShare/BlueNote Records) have garnered nationwide critical acclaim, including a glowing review in The New York Times. His most recent album is the critically acclaimed Alcanza (Biophilia).
Almazan has toured North and South America, Asia, Africa, Australia, and Europe and has had the opportunity to perform with such artists as Linda May Han Oh, Gretchen Parlato, John Hollenbeck, Paquito D’Rivera, Mark Guiliana, Dave Douglass, Chris Dingman, David Sanchez, and Ambrose Akinmusire, among others.