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Cuban music legend, Jesus “Chucho” Valdes is fiery hot and still impacting the jazz world with his diverse musical elements. Riding the new wave in Latin jazz fostered by the pianist’s critically acclaimed Bele Bele en la Habana on Blue Note in 1998, Valdes reserved enough energy to excite his fans with an exquisite blend of technique and soul on Live. The CD, an infectious, collection of cubop grooves and rhythms, further develops the Afro-Cuban and Latin jazz collective Chucho has been pulsating for the past 25 years as musical director of Irakere, the award-winning band he co-founded to play both music styles. “Tumbao,” and “Blues A Puerto Rico,” feature a variety of moods, melodies, synchopation and the signature solos of Chucho’s formidable piano. Along with the extra fire of his rhythm section, Live broadens Valdes’ Afro-Cuban perspective and the influences brimming in Carribean and Latin American life.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.