Issued just after his landmark two-week June 1998 gig at the Village Vanguard and subsequent U.S./Canada tour, Chucho Valdйs' first album for Blue Note bears out a lot of the hype surrounding this hugely gifted Cuban pianist. Unlike many of today's younger Cuban keyboard hotshots, Valdйs not only has great technical chops and musical erudition, he manages to stay closely tied to his Cuban rhythmic roots. Thus, he employs a Cuban percussionist Roberto Vizcaino Guillot along with the standard bass (Alain Pйrez Rodriguez) and drums (Raъl Pнсeda Roque), which dramatically increases the possibilities for rhythmic experiments. Valdes more often than not is all over the keyboard, comfortable with everything from Ravel-ian classical complexity to Bill Evans' introspection to Cecil Taylor-like crunches.
Chucho Valdes, Cuba's most famous jazz musician, has rebalanced the repertoire of his Afro-Cuban Messengers on Border-Free, mixing its American-jazz agenda (the group's name deliberately references both Valdes' roots and the late Art Blakey's classic soul-bop Jazz Messengers group) with more extended Latin-American input, and some Native American and Andalusian connections, too. Saxophonist Branford Marsalis, guesting on three tracks, is warmly romantic on tenor on the loping Tabu, agile and fluent on the Cuban dance-shuffle Bebo, and mercurial on a soprano-sax break full of north African microtonalisms on the hurtling, horn-hooting finale, Abdel.
Put the force of McCoy Tyner, the superhuman keyboard agility of Art Tatum, and the delicacy of Erroll Garner into a 6-foot-4 Cuban-born frame, and you'll get Jesus "Chucho" Valdes, one of the greatest piano players on the planet. For three decades, Valdes led the Cuban superband Irakere, with Paquito D'Rivera and Arturo Sandoval. But in the last few years, Valdes has been spotlighting his pianistic prowess in small combos such as the quartet he led during a spirited stint at the legendary Village Vanguard in 1999. Backed by a young group of Cuban musicians–drummer Raul Pineda Roque, percussionist Roberto Vizcaino Guillot, and bassist Franciso Rubio Pampin–Valdes turns the piano into a hurricane of melody, harmony and rhythm.
A rare discovery of virtually unknown recordings. These are the unreleased sessions long awaited by every Latin jazz fan. These sessions were recorded in La Havana between 1976 and 1978, but between his excellent sound quality and the innovative music that Paquito created, we were amazed to discover that they sound like they were recorded yesterday! A great mix of Jazz and Latin groove. With Arturo Sandoval, Chucho Valdes, Carlos Emilio Morales and Oscar Valdes.
It seems remarkable that Arturo Sandoval never seems to win any jazz polls, for few trumpeters can come close to equaling his technique, jazz chops, and warm sound. On this advanced hard bop date, the music is strictly straight-ahead without any Latin rhythms. Sandoval matches wits quite successfully with clarinetist Eddie Daniels on two songs, tenor great Michael Brecker on three (including a memorable rendition of "Moment's Notice"), and veteran flugelhornist Clark Terry on a joyous "Mack the Knife." In addition, Sandoval pays tribute to Woody Shaw, John Coltrane, and Dizzy Gillespie. All in all, this is one of Arturo Sandoval's finest recordings to date.
In what promises to be a breakthrough achievement in a long and celebrated career, jazz impresario Arturo Sandoval's collection A Time For Love will be released by Concord Jazz. The album features classical compositions for orchestra and jazz trio by Grammy-winning arranger Jorge Calandrelli along with a sprinkling of American jazz standards by composers including Gershwin and Chaplin.