Denison Vail Series Presents "Chucho" Valdes Quintet
Date of Event: April 19, 2002
Posted: April 8, 2002
GRANVILLE -- The Denison University Vail Series will close its 2001/2002 season with a performance by the "Chucho" Valdes Quintet at 8 p.m. on Friday (April 19) in Swasey Chapel. Featured in the quintet are Jesus "Chucho" Valdes, piano, Lazaro Alarcon, bass, Ramses Bazalt, drums, Yaroldy Robles, percussion, and Mayra Rodrigues, vocals.
A limited number of tickets for the performance may be available to the public for $15 each. For information on ticket availability, call the Vail Hotline at (740) 587-6557.
Valdes has been named "the greatest jazz pianist in Cuba, perhaps one of the greatest pianists in the world" by Time magazine. A pianist, composer, bandleader, music professor and president of the Havana Jazz Festival, he has served as a catalyst of great music in his country and internationally.
Thanks to his father, Bebo Valdes, musical director of the Havana-based Tropicana casino and also his first piano teacher, Valdes began working on his fundamentals at the age of three in Cuba. As a young student he was given the opportunity to see his father work with many stars of American music including Ray Brown, Buddy Rich, Dizzy Gillespie and Nat King Cole, among others. Formal training in classical music and traditional Cuban music was also part of his musical education.
Valdes formed his first jazz group at the age of 16. In 1965 he joined the Elio Reve Orchestra and two years later helped co-found the legendary Orquesta de M?sica Moderna. This band was a home for musicians like Valdes who were not only interested in traditional Cuban music, but wanted to play jazz and explore other modern styles as well. Saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera and trumpeter Arturo Sandoval were also members of this orchestra, from which sprang the band Irakere in 1973. A 1978 Newport Jazz Festival performance at Carnegie Hall resulted in the group being signed by Columbia Records. The performance was recorded and won Irakere a Grammy with their debut American album.
The diversity of styles, which Valdes interprets so fluidly, is evident in his newest solo record, "Solo: Live in New York." "The solo concert is very difficult," said Valdes of performing solo and recording live. "You really have to be on top of your instrument. After each concert I'm sure I lose around five pounds."
Recently, Valdes has received long over-due exposure in the U.S. through a series of New York City performances and via new recordings by bassist Charles Fambrough and trumpeter Roy Hargrove.
The instrumentation of the quintet includes acoustic piano, acoustic bass, drums and an Afro-Cuban set of ethnic and tribal drums. Performances explore Afro-Cuban influences and the roots of popular traditional Cuban music. However, Valdes strives to go deeper into the tradition of Cuban music and jazz to create "a new language for Latin jazz."
For press inquiries:
- Barbara Stambaugh
- Position Title
- Director, Media Relations
- Primary Email
- Business Phone
- (740) 587-8575