All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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

CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
DVD/Film Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Lágrimas Negras (10º Aniversario)

Lágrimas Negras...

Calle 54 Records
2013

buy
Juntos Para Siempre / Bebo & Chucho Valdes

Juntos Para Siempre /...

Red Int / Red Ink
2009

buy
Suite Cubana

Suite Cubana

Calle 54 Records
2009

buy
Dinastia Valdes

Dinastia Valdes

J&N Records
2009

buy
Juntos Para Siempre

Juntos Para Siempre

Calle 54 Records
2008

buy
Live At The Village Vanguard

Live At The Village...

Calle 54 Records
2008

buy

Related Articles

Read Orientation CD/LP/Track Review
Orientation
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 18, 2018
Read Romaria CD/LP/Track Review
Romaria
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 18, 2018
Read You Eat My Food, You Drink My Wine, You Steal My Girl! CD/LP/Track Review
You Eat My Food, You Drink My Wine, You Steal My Girl!
by Jerome Wilson
Published: February 18, 2018
Read Autres Paysages CD/LP/Track Review
Autres Paysages
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 18, 2018
Read Elvesang CD/LP/Track Review
Elvesang
by John Kelman
Published: February 17, 2018
Read Necessary Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Necessary Arrangements
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 17, 2018
Read "Domains" CD/LP/Track Review Domains
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 13, 2017
Read "EE-YA-GI (Stories)" CD/LP/Track Review EE-YA-GI (Stories)
by Troy Dostert
Published: November 13, 2017
Read "Rekihndled" CD/LP/Track Review Rekihndled
by Doug Collette
Published: April 8, 2017
Read "I Am" CD/LP/Track Review I Am
by Geno Thackara
Published: November 13, 2017
Read "Beyond the Moon" CD/LP/Track Review Beyond the Moon
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 12, 2017
Read "Synesthesia" CD/LP/Track Review Synesthesia
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 29, 2017