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Chucho Valdes - October 9 -

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Chucho Valdes 1941
A giant of Afro-Cuban jazz piano, a winner of eight Grammy awards, Chucho Valdes is revered as one of Cuba's greatest jazz pianists.

Considered by many critics to be the most significant musician of post-Revolutionary Cuba, Valdes continues to remain at the forefront of artists who have successfully fused African, Afro-Cuban, and Afro-Latin elements to Afro-American Jazz.


Valdes as a leader of a variety of groups from trios to sextets has been nominated for several Grammy awards throughout the 1990s. In addition to the explosion of musical creativity from Cuba's musicians in the 1940s onward, he has cited among his influences such American Jazz musicians as Art Tatum, Duke Ellington, Erroll Garner, Bud Powell, Dizzy Gillespie, Hank Jones, Bill Evans, and McCoy Tyner. He continues to explore and chart new musical territory, often featuring his vocalist sister Mayra Caridad Valdes in his performances and recordings; In 1996, he played on Roy Hargrove's widely acclaimed album Crisol, and numerous U.S. concert dates and a North American record contract followed. His solo piano performances and recordings are indicative of a virtuosity and creativity that has become an indelible influence on musicians of every genre around the world.

As well as exporting Cuban music to the mainstream, he also committed himself to a series of seminars and clinics to teach the music to Latin-American schoolchildren in the USA. In his own country, he co-founded the annual Havana International Jazz Festival, that he continues to oversee as honorary musical director. He also compèred a popular weekly Sunday jazz show.

Chucho Valdés & the Afro-Cuban Messengers:

Even in a country with a grand tradition of virtuosic pianists, Chucho Valdés stands alone, a towering figure who combines the sheer power of McCoy Tyner with the dexterity of Oscar Peterson and a rhythmic sensibility steeped in the intricacies of Afro-Cuban culture. The conservatory-trained son of Cuban music icon Bebo Valdés and an eight-time Grammy winner, Chucho has spent much of his career in the vanguard of the Latin music. As a co-founder of the seminal ensemble Irakere with Paquito D’Rivera and Arturo Sandoval, he forged an unprecedented synthesis of ritualistic Afro-Cuban percussion, post-bop improvisation, European classical music, rock and R&B. 

"One of the world’s great virtuosic pianists. " — The New York Times

"He can tickle the ivories with the soft grace of Bill Evans and dazzle with the thunderous dexterity of Art Tatum or Oscar Peterson. " — All About Jazz

Last modified on Friday, 10 October 2014 08:45

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