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Chucho Valdez “Chucho’s Steps”

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Have you ever seen or heard Chucho play? If not, then you are missing one the best Jazz pianists around.

AAJ has a piece announcing this new album from Four Quarters Entertainment. Here is the blurb from Amazon:

“Born in Quivicán, Cuba in 1941, Chucho Valdés is one of Cuba’s most famous pianists, bandleaders, composers and arrangers. Perhaps best known for founding the famous Latin jazz band Irakere in 1972, Chucho’s illustrious career has also garnered him 6 Grammy wins and 16 nominations over the past three decades. His most recent win, a 2009 Latin Grammy for the record Juntos para Siempre, saw him collaborate with his father, Bebo Valdés, a major player on the Cuban jazz scene in his own right. Chucho Valdés has recorded over eighty CD’s and performed with everybody who is anybody in the world of jazz; from Herbie Hancock and Dizzy Gillespie, to Wynton Marsalis and Chick Corea. His reputation as one of the greatest living Cuban jazz pianists has earned him appearances on the great stages in music, including Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center and The Hollywood Bowl. Chucho’s new album with the Afro-Cuban Messengers, which will extensively tour the USA in October 2010, marks Chucho’s return to the US for the first time in 7 years.”

From AAJ, “While exploring his own growth, Valdés, joined by the Afro-Cuban Messengers, pays tribute to those that have influenced him and aided his musical development. For example, the title track, a tribute to John Coltrane and his masterpiece Giant Steps, rounds off the harmonic structure in 50 bars without repetition. The improvisation and variations heard in this track create the illusion of a concert or suite, while exhibiting the virtuosity of Valdés and the Afro-Cuban Messengers. The upbeat and funky opening track, “Zawinul’s Mambo,” pays homage to Austrian keyboardist and composer, Joe Zawinul, whom Valdés cites as an integral inspiration to the development of his composition and technique.

At Amazon, the CD album $13.99; the .mp3 album $6.99

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