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Among his many accomplishments, pianist Jesus Chucho Valdés may be best known for forming the Cuban jazz orchestra, Irakere. Sadly, the political tensions between Cuba and the United States have, till now, often prevented Valdés from showcasing his considerable talents to a broader audience. However, in the past few years he has been allowed to leave his homeland and perform around the world. Live At The Village Vanguard presents the Chucho Valdés Quartet working out on a high-energy collection of originals and standards, all flavoured with infectious Latin and Afro-Cuban rhythms. Whether Chucho Valdés is performing a gentle ballad or a rousing foot-stomper, his joy in playing and his love of the music always shines through. He can tickle the ivories with the soft grace of Bill Evans and dazzle with the thunderous dexterity of Art Tatum or Oscar Peterson. A terrific live recording, highly recommended. ####
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.