Orlando Valle's first production for Ahí-Namá followed the trek of his previous ones: “Ballsy Going Where No One Had Gone Before.” Of course, his musical trek did not obviate who and what made it possible as he is as familiar with the past, as he is eager to mark the future.
Maraca has proven his mettle wearing many pants, performer, producer, band member, arranger, resuscitator and preserver of living aged stalwarts of Cuban music. This recorded collage endears itself to Jazz and Dance aficionados alike. Blessed be his habit of mixing renowned veterans, with up and coming legends, and a dash of solid team players whose supportive work is reason enough to be part of this incipient celebrated figure. Many of the best parts of the album come through accents: Pancho Amat's joviality while punctuating the animated rhythm with his Tres, the baritone sax playing peek-a-boo, the ghostly face of Benny Moré floating over some of the mambos and the vocal improvisations of both the young and old singers in the record, tighter and tastier performances than many of the common loosely-playing Cuban contemporary bands. Of course, Orlando's version of the distinguished Cuban flute developments is subsumed, quite democratically, through the entire production.
Once you take in the performances of the numerous special guests, you will want to buy this one and look for the other Maraca’s recordings.
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total)
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total). He saw an alto sax on my neck and said: Hey, how about you there, would you like to play something for us? I played a piece with the piano. OK, said Lee, how about you play something unaccompanied? Oh yeah! I was deep into transcribing Sonny Stitt and pretty much into playing as fast as possible as many right notes as possible. So I played Oleo in about 300 beats per minute and was very proud of myself. Lee was tapping his foot all the way through. Hmm, he said, that was in time and all that... (I thought - yeah, of course, haha!) and then he said, You've got a lot of quantity, how about quality? It took me 15 years to realize what he meant.