Chucho Vald?s: New Conceptions (2003)
What Valdïs does with “Caravan” serves as the high point of New Conceptions. He explores this timeless exotic gem with natural ease and fire in his eyes. The quartet explodes with percussive expression of adventure. Much of the album, however, lacks the kind of spark that he’s issued previously. In his wish to introduce young Cuban jazz artists, Valdïs has refrained from astonishing the listener with take-control keyboard epithets. Instead, he keeps his piano statements to a minimum and brings his not-so-promising guests forward for their brief introductions.
“Sin Clave Pero Con Swing” (without guests) returns to the quartet-only formula. Here, the group achieves what has been the U.S. focus of attention for the 62-year-old Cuban pianist. The quartet is alive and eager for the action that this music dictates.
In the early 1970s with Irakere, Valdïs introduced Arturo Sandoval and Paquito D’Rivera to the world. He preferred to remain behind the spotlight. Then, in the late ‘90s, both Irakere and Valdïs received Blue Note exposure that has led to a wider understanding of Cuba’s giant bandleader and pianist. New Conceptions won’t turn many heads; however, this pianist’s superb artistry can never be overlooked.
Track Listing: La Comparsa; You Don?t Know What Love Is; Los Guiros; Nanu; Solar; Sin Clave Pero Con Swing; Homenaje a Ellington (Satin Doll, In a Sentimental Mood, Caravan).
Personnel: Chucho Vald?s- piano; Yaroldy Abreu Robles- congas, drums, shekere; Lazaro Rivero Alarcon- bass; Ramses Rodriguez Baralt- trap drums; Maylin Sevila Brizuela- cello on ?Nanu;? Jacinto Joaquin Olivero Gavil?n- flute on ?La Comparsa;? Roman Filiu O?Reilly- alto saxophone on ?You Don?t Know What Love Is;? Irving Luichel Acao Tierra- tenor saxophone on ?Solar? and ?Homenaje a Ellington (In a Sentimental Mood);? Dreiser Durruthy Bombale- percussion on ?Homenaje a Ellington? and vocal soloist on ?Los Guiros;? Fran Garcia Lanz- percussion on ?Homenaje a Ellington (Caravan);? Jorge Enrique Leyva Angulo, Jose A. Alabre, Vladimir Ramos Pestana, Hammadi Rencurrell Vald?s- percussion on ?Homenaje a Ellington (Caravan)? and chorus on ?Los Guiros.?
Record Label: Blue Note Records