474

Bebo Vald: Bebo de Cuba

By

Sign in to view read count
This landmark set superbly documents the wide ranging talents of one of Cuba's greatest artists—expatriate pianist/composer/arranger Bebo Valdés—in the company of an impressive cast of New York's finest Latin jazz instrumentalists. The first disc, Suite Cubana, features the pianist, father of the more famous Chucho Valdés, leading an all-star big band through a collection of original compositions that revisit the classic sound of the golden age of Cuban music in a variety of infectious rhythms (mambo, bembé, son, guaracha, guajira, montuno, batanga, and comparsa) laid down by Valdés, Edgardo Miranda, John Benitez, Dafnis Prieto, Milton Cardona, Joe Gonzalez, and Rickard Valdés.

The melodies are memorable and the arrangements smooth and sophisticated. While there is a judicious amount of space allotted for the impressive soloists, including Paquito D'Rivera, Bobby Porcelli, Mario Rivera, Bobby Franceschini, and Pablo Calogero (saxophones); Diego Urcola, Ray Vega, and Mike Mossman (trumpets); and Papo Vazquéz, Luis Bonilla, and Juan Pablo Torres (trombones), the cohesive sound of the band is what makes the music such a great pleasure to hear.

The set's second disc, El Solar de Bebo, is an old-fashioned descarga (jam session) recalling the date Valdés led for producer Norman Granz in Cuba in 1952. The pianist is again joined by Miranda, Cardona, and Joe Gonzalez—this time with bassist Andy Gonzalez, drummer Steve Berrios, and timbalero Jimmy Delgado filling out the rhythm section. D'Rivera (on alto, soprano, and clarinet), Torres and Urcola are plucked from their respective horn sections, reuniting the front line from Bebo Rides Again.

The spotlight here is on the soloists (including Valdés the pianist) and the imposing percussion section, but the leader's compositions also shine, particularly the three beautiful ballads "Rose Marie, "A Mayra, and "Miriam, written for his wife and two daughters. The other selections swing tastily, including the guaguancó title track, the danza "El Quitr'on, and the descargas "Kabul and Lorenzo, "La Mula, "Da Baracutey, and "El Guajeo de Rickard, the latter dedicated to the leader's timbalero son, who appears on the track.

The bonus third disc, Cuadernos de Nueva York, is a twenty-plus minute DVD detailing Valdés' trip to the US and the making of these recordings. The documentary's subtitles (like the lavish 56-page booklet) are translated into English from the original edition's Spanish, offering an enjoyable glimpse of the affable artist, for American audiences.


Personnel: Bebo Vald

Title: Bebo de Cuba | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Calle 54 Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Inspired" CD/LP/Track Review Inspired
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "Wet Paint" CD/LP/Track Review Wet Paint
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 15, 2016
Read "Araminta" CD/LP/Track Review Araminta
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 17, 2017
Read "Small Town" CD/LP/Track Review Small Town
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 4, 2017
Read "Drama" CD/LP/Track Review Drama
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: September 9, 2017
Read "Ullr" CD/LP/Track Review Ullr
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 8, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.