Chambao Con Chucho Valdes, Carles Benavent Y Josemi Carmona
Cuban pianist and composer Chucho Valdés has been at the pinnacle of Latin jazz since his band Irakere won the Grammy Award for Best Latin Performance in 1979. A major figure in the artistic breakthrough of Cuban musicians despite America's blockade of that country, he has continued to win acclaim and awards for his Afro-Cuban sound with Irakere and other sidemen ever since.
Son of the late pianist Ramon 'Bebo' Valdés, bandleader at the famed Havana nightspot Tropicana, he studied classical musical as a child but was soon exposed to the American artists who flocked to Havana to play at the Tropicana such as Erroll Garner and Nat King Cole. He started making recordings in 1964 with the fellow Cuban artists who would become mainstays of his future bands. He was an original member with trumpet player Luis Escalante and saxophonist Armando Romeu Jr. in the Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna in 1969 before he formed Irakere in 1973.
Irakere featured strongly in a three-day music festival called Havana Jam at the Karl Marx Theatre in March 1979 after US President Jimmy Carter and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro worked to ease relations between the two warring nations. It featured American artists such as Wayne Shorter, Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge along with several Cuban stars. Irakere headlined the Saturday night show and appeared on two double-albums titled 'Havana Jam' and 'Havana Jam 2', which furthered their popularity in America.
Valdés eventually travelled to perform in the United States and signed with the iconic jazz label Blue Note. He is regarded widely as the pre-eminent statesman of Latin jazz and he continues to perform and record albums. His latest release, 'Tribute to Irakere: Live in Marciac', recorded at the 2016 Marciac Jazz Festival in France with his current aggregation the Afro Cuban Messengers, won the 2017 Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album.
Artist biography compiled by BDS/West 10. All rights reserved
Calima, La Mari (Chambao)
Macaco/La Mari De Chambao
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