How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Among his many accomplishments, pianist Jesus Chucho Valdés may be best known for forming the Cuban jazz orchestra, Irakere. Sadly, the political tensions between Cuba and the United States have, till now, often prevented Valdés from showcasing his considerable talents to a broader audience. However, in the past few years he has been allowed to leave his homeland and perform around the world. Live At The Village Vanguard presents the Chucho Valdés Quartet working out on a high-energy collection of originals and standards, all flavoured with infectious Latin and Afro-Cuban rhythms. Whether Chucho Valdés is performing a gentle ballad or a rousing foot-stomper, his joy in playing and his love of the music always shines through. He can tickle the ivories with the soft grace of Bill Evans and dazzle with the thunderous dexterity of Art Tatum or Oscar Peterson. A terrific live recording, highly recommended. ####