ince the beginning of Ricardo Alvarez’s career as a keyboarder, programmer and producer, he was always associated with various innovative projects. Such was the case with the Cuban bands Arkanar and Pulsos, and later, in Germany, with the international bands Frecuencia Mod and Side by Side. His ability and talent with synthesizers and the computer led him to the development of Extravaganza.
Ricardo first created several instrumental songs in the direction of “new age“, a very en vogue style in the early 90s. His relocation to Germany in 1994 added additional influences, such as the electronic genres drum´n bass, techno, house, ambient, trance, acid jazz and chillout. The final concept was born when Alvarez wrote a drum´n bass version of the Cuban classic “Suavecito“, which was composed by Ignacio Piñeiro in 1933. Inspired by the creation of this new sound, he continued to develop his own original songs like “Entropía” and “El Templo de las Musas”. Alvarez wrote seven of the eleven songs on the album. The result is an original and very modern sounding first album. The use of state-of-the-art software synthesizers and other current technologies, combined with deep musical roots and originality, has attracted the attention of critics, musicians and music fans.
Extravaganza is Ricardo Alvarez’s first solo project, where, for the first time he uses his own voice. The vocal’s function is generally not as a soloist, rather as a trademark sound color throughout the album. The highest points of the recording according to Alvarez, apart from the "Suavecito" version, are "Linda Cubana" a very modern version of the famous danzon written by Romeu, "Entropia", a more aggressive and futuristic song with drum´n bass grooves, and ”Mambo en Re Menor”, a song composed by multi-Grammy-award-winning Cuban jazz pianist Chucho Valdés, arranged by Alvarez and featuring Valdés on piano. The music contains a touch of rock in the rhythms, mixed with African and electronic percussion, using sounds from European electronic genres and flavored with some jazz harmonies.
The Extravaganza concept is a combination of music supported by corresponding projected images, thus creating a multimedia concert performance. These images are generated live on stage in real time by a video jockey operating a computer, which are then projected onto large screens during each song in the concert. Ricardo Alvarez plays his set of synthesizers and computers accompanied onstage by a percussionist and a guitarist.