|Maestro Chucho Valdés|
This past weekend, the SFJAZZ Center was honored to host the Maestro with his extraordinary quintet of young powerhouse players - the aptly-named Afro-Cuban Messengers - for four incredible nights as well as an afternoon master class in which he traced the evolution of Cuban popular music in a 90-minute lecture-demonstration. The highlights from the class are represented in these few photos, but nothing comes close to adequately describing the musical amalgam that is Chucho Valdés and the journey the audiences were treated to night after mind-blowing night.
|Valdés & the Afro-Cuban Messengers|
As the blogger du jour I should state for the record that I am extremely biased, having been a fan and friend of Chucho's for over 25 years, but there is no denying the jaw-dropping performances that he and his Messengers gave us, as was evident with the multiple standing ovations the band received. From explosive percussion-laden grooves to tender ballads sprinkled with echoes of Bill Evans and Brubeck to Bach and beyond, to the thrilling tango-timba-blues he composed for his wife Lorena (who was in the house along with their son each night)...every piece was a gem, and each night a magical exploration of Valdés' compositional legacy.
|One of MANY ovations during their 4-day appearances.|
L to r: Gastón Joya (bs), Valdés (pno), Rodney Barreto (dr),
Dreiser Durruthy (pc/voc) and Yaroldy Abreu (congas).
|Valdés with SFJAZZ Director of Education Rebeca Mauleón|
I continue to be inspired and nurtured by Valdés' musical genius, and am eternally grateful that he has allowed us to share in his many gifts. He is, like Duke and Blakey before him, a beacon of advocacy for emerging talent and a fountain of creativity, and he continues to carve his path beyond border or boundary.
-- Rebeca Mauleón
For more information on Chucho Valdés visit his website at valdeschucho.com.