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Manuel Valera: The Planets

Read "The Planets" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

Cuban-born pianist Manuel Valera is not unknown to jazz-heads who make it their business to listen and champion. But, since his acclaimed 2004 debut Forma Nueva, a couple of Grammy nods, and last year's quietly brilliant The Seasons, Valera's name and exciting blend of culture, tradition, and progression has spread deservedly like wildfire through the larger ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Manuel Valera Trio: The Seasons

Read "The Seasons" reviewed by Troy Dostert

Although Manuel Valera originally staked his claim to fame as a “Latin jazz" pianist, it's fair to say that he has sought to transcend the constraints imposed by that label. On this release, the second by his trio with bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer E.J. Strickland, Valera displays just as much interest in drawing from the ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Manuel Valera Trio: The Seasons

Read "The Seasons" reviewed by Edward Blanco

Offering his twelfth recording as a leader, Grammy-nominated pianist Manuel Valera unveils a dynamic session of modern jazz on the vibrant The Seasons and follow up to Live at Firehouse 12 (MAVO Records, 2015). The album also happens to be the second date with his current working trio of jazz luminaries' bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Manuel Valera Trio: Live at Firehouse 12

Read "Live at Firehouse 12" reviewed by Edward Blanco

Leader of the Latin jazz-styled group New Cuban Express, New York-based, Cuban-born pianist Manuel Valera, unveils his 10th album as leader and his first recording in a live setting with the untypically non-Latin Live at Firehouse 12, his first trio format release in six years. This, very excellent trio features jazz luminaries Hans Glawischnig on bass ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Manuel Valera Trio: Live at Firehouse 12

Read "Live at Firehouse 12" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Cuban pianist Manuel Valera readily extends the jazz language of his predecessors Bebo and Chucho Valdes. He is comfortable leading all band formats from septets (In Motion (Criss Cross, 2014) to solo performance (Self Portrait (Self Produced, 2014). Valera may presently be found fronting an exceptional trio performing Live at Firehouse 12.

Orchestral ...

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Manuel Valera Sr.: Recuerdos

Read "Recuerdos" reviewed by Ernest Barteldes

Recuerdos might translate as “Remembrances," but save for maybe a track or two, this album is clearly not about nostalgia--it is a contemporary Latin jazz album filled with inspired moments--among these “Solitude," a tune in which veteran saxophonist Manuel Valeras, Sr. and his son (pianist Manuel Valera) share a close duet. “Si La Comprienderas" opens the ...

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Manuel Valera Sr.: Recuerdos

Read "Recuerdos" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

There's quite a bit of Cuban music history in Manuel Valera Sr.'s fingertips. Over the course of his career, he's put his saxophone to good use in the Orquesta Cubana de Musica Moderna, Mario Bauza's Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra, Machito's Orchestra, Paquito D'Rivera's Big Band, and numerous other groups; he's played alongside bassist Israel “Cachao" Lopez, ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Manuel Valera: Self Portrait

Read "Self Portrait" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

On Self Portrait, Grammy-nominated pianist Manuel Valera's first solo piano outing, the artist displays a supple and exquisite touch on his instrument, reflecting the erudition and precision of his classical background. This is worth saying right off because Valera is best known for his vivacious Latin jazz ensemble outings, New Cuban Express (Mavo Records, 2012) and ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Manuel Valera: Self Portrait

Read "Self Portrait" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Pianist Manuel Valera's New Cuban Express has pulled into the station for a pit stop, his band mates have stepped off the train to stretch their legs, and the conductor of said locomotive is now left to ponder his own existence in front of his controls. Such is the story that could be told to detail ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Manuel Valera & New Cuban Express: Expectativas

Read "Expectativas" reviewed by Edward Blanco

A follow up to pianist Manuel Valera's 2013 Grammy--nominated New Cuban Express, his seventh album as leader, Expectativas continues the melding of Afro-Cuban rhythms with the modern fusion jazz sound fusing the two into a new form of jazz best described as “modern Latin fusion." Consisting of eleven originals and one cover, the project is a ...