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Consider the bloodlines here: Vocalist Mayra Caridad Valdes is the sister of Latin Grammy-winning pianist, Chucho Valdes, whom she has toured with; she is the daughter of renowned pianist Bebo Valdes, the aunt of Chuchito Valdes, Jr., who had a hit CD, Encantado , just last year. Now it's Mayra's turn, following in the familial Afro-Cuban tradition in top form with her debut CD, La Diosa del Mar.
Ms. Valdes has a rich, strong alto voice combined with a scatting ability that invites comparisons to Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald. For her first time on disc, Lady Mayra has put together a tropical hot band that rolls right into the opener, "Drume Negrito", with percussion and piano that churns the song to life with a rollicking third world beat, an intricate duet that leads into Mayra's assured, powerhouse alto, followed by a sizzling tenor sax solo. A get up out of the chair and dance tune. "Mambo Influencia" is next, and it won't let you sit down either, then Mayra shows her chops as supple, rich-toned balladeer on "Danza Naniga", then gives the time honored "Besame Mucho" a sultry go before she wails into a clamorous Latin scat-fest on Charlie Parker's bop classic, "Billie's Bounce".
Sometimes it pays to pay attention to those bloodlines; Mayra Calidad Valdes's La Diosa del Mar introduces a great new voice to the Afro-Cuban Jazz scene.
Track Listing: Drume Negrita, Mambo Influencia, Danza Naniga, Besame Mucho, Yemaya, Para que Vuelvas, Bilie's Bounce, Danzonete, Como Fue, Rezo Afrocubano
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.