Of Chucho Valdes, Downbeat Magazine wrote, “el maestro Chucho Valdes is one of the great treasures of the music world…Valdes grounds his work in the aural history of Cuba while seamlessly weaving in aspects of folk, jazz and classical to create a singular musical vision. Winner of 5 Grammys and 3 Latin Grammys, the Cuban-born pianist was the power behind the band, Irakere, who together with jazz-monsters Arturo Sandoval and Paquito D’Rivera, powered the world of Latin jazz for more than 3 decades. His music is a haunting force of beauty and power – the lyricism of Bill Evans and rhythmic insistence of McCoy Tyner, both of whom still inspire his playing.
In 2005 Chucho formed a new quintet of brilliant, young Cuban musicians with an eye towards creating a new sound and debuting his extra-ordinary piano chops. The band, The Afro-Cuban Messengers, is what today’s Latin Jazz is about – lyrical, multi-cultural, uplifting and thrilling with a generous helping of brass, melody and soul. Incomparable.
Disguised for so many decades behind the bands he’s lead, Valdes is now free-range, freely visible, and receiving the wider recognition he greatly deserves.