Omara Portuondo and Chucho ValdésOmara & ChuchoWorld Village2011 After 50 years of carrying a torch for Bueno Vista Social Club singer Omara Portuondo, pianist Chucho Valdés has finally succeeded in getting her into bed. The rear sleeve photo on Omara & Chucho shows the pair side by side between the sheets and smiling broadly, although, admittedly, both appear to be clothed, and are mugging it up for the camera. Valdés and his father, bandleader Bebe Valdés, each took a shine to Portuondo when the singer was part of the ...read more
The odyssey of pianist Chucho Valdés has been well documented from his early days in Cuba playing in his father Bebo's Sabor de Cuba Orchestra to the founding of Irakere and on to new pastures as he infused fresh blood into Latin music and jazz. Valdez has never been fettered; his ideas are constantly evolving, finding avenues that give his music broad scope. He filters the narrowest of nooks and fills them with his majestic vision. He is truly a giant who has extended the boundaries of jazz with a presence that locks into the larger context as a pianist, ...read more
Chucho Valdés arrived at his All About Jazz interview confident: of his music and of Spain's victory in the South African FIFA World Cup. It was July 11th 2010, and for the first time in its history, Spain's national team had reached a World Cup final, in South Africa. A Cuban interested in football? A lot of people watch football in Cuba now, especially the Spanish league. I began to get excited about football in the last three years, in Argentina, and I like the way the Spanish team is playing in this tournament, like a team rather than a ...read more
The semiology contained on pianist Chucho Valdés' magnificent Chucho's Steps points to the character of the music before the disc has even been taken out of its sleeve. First there's the name of the group and its reference to drummer Art Blakey's ferociously swinging Jazz Messengers. Then there's the title of the opener, Las dos caras" ("Both Sides"), which hints at the two jazz traditions, American and Afro-Cuban, defining its particular style--an idea reinforced by the image of a crossroads, signalling an intersection of styles, on the front cover. And then there's the title of a second track, Yansá," which ...read more
Chucho Valdés Quintet 2009 Ottawa International Jazz Festival Ottawa, Canada July 3, 2009
The rain held off and skies cleared just in time for the Chucho Valdés Quintet to delight the audience at the Ottawa Jazz Festival, Confederation Park. The group-consisting of Chucho Valdés on piano, Lazaro Alarcon on bass, drummer Juan Carlos Rojas, percussionist Yurali Abreu and vocalist Mayra Caridad Valdés (who appeared later in the set)--started the set with an Ellington medley. Satin Doll" smoothly segued into In A Sentimental Mood" and then Caravan." Valdés is a master at his instrument ...read more
Rumor Records' Jazz Cuba series cherry picks from 300 recordings made primarily for local consumption from the mid 1950s through the late 1980s at the Panart and Areito studios in Havana, Cuba. Some may briefly have surfaced in the US via the Cuban exile community, but none have previously been released in the UK or mainland Europe.
The first five releases include four albums led by or featuring pianist Chucho Valdes which trace the genesis of the seminal jazz-and-roots band Irakere, from Chucho Valdes & Combo in 1964, through the Orquesta Cubana De Musica Moderna in the late ...read more
Latin jazz’s premiere quartet issues yet another skillful interpretation of Ellingtoniana, straight-ahead jazz and blues tenets – as well as Afro-Cuban music – in a compact, exhilarating release. Jesïs “Chucho” Valdïs is at what might be the zenith of his career, as his chops ably attest. New Conceptions features the usual muscularity, intensity and intellectual reach of the pianist’s Blue Note releases. This time he’s expounding upon them in a small group setting produced by Renï Lïpez, whose musical career should be better documented and honored in its own right.
Tempting and fertile reinterpretations of “Satin Doll,” “In ...read more