Chucho Valdés – Jazz Batá
Cuban pianist composer and arranger Chucho Valdés is the most influential figure in modern Afro-Cuban jazz. Winner of six GRAMMY® and three Latin GRAMMY® Awards Mr. Valdés received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Science last year and was also inducted in the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame. Born in a family of musicians in Quivicán Havana province Cuba on October 9 1941 Dionisio Jesús "Chucho" Valdés Rodríguez has distilled elements of the Afro-Cuban music tradition jazz classical music and rock into an organic deeply personal style. His first teacher was his father the pianist composer and bandleader Ramón “Bebo” Valdés. By the age of three Mr. Valdés was already playing the melodies he heard on the radio at the piano using both hands and in any key. He began taking lessons on piano theory and solfege at the age of five and continued his formal musical education at the Conservatorio Municipal de Música de la Habana from which he graduated at 14. A year later Mr. Valdés formed his first jazz trio. In 1959 he debuted professionally with the band Sabor de Cuba. The ensemble directed by his father is widely considered one of the great orchestras in modern Cuban music. Fittingly Mr. Valdés made his early mark as the founder pianist and main composer and arranger of another landmark ensemble: the small big band Irakere (1973-2005). Irakere’s self- titled debut recording in the United States won a Grammy as Best Latin Recording in 1979. Mr. Valdés launched a solo career in 1998 but remained with Irakere until 2005. He celebrated the 40 th anniversary of the birth of his iconic band with a world tour and Tribute to Irakere: Live at Marciac (Jazz Village / Comanche Music) won a Grammy for the Best Latin Jazz Album in 2016. His most recent project titled Jazz Batá 2 features a one-of-a-kind piano jazz trio featuring batá drums the sacred hourglass shaped drums of the Yoruba religion in Cuba, in place of the
conventional trap set.