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Cuban musician and bandleader Chucho Valdes is known for many things. He’s an extraordinary, fire-breathing pianist, he’s won several GRAMMY® Awards, and he founded the groundbreaking group Irakere in the early '70s. (Valdes is the son of another great pianist, the late Bebo Valdes.) Border-Free, as its title implies, draws on a number of cultural influences to create a distinct brand of Latin jazz. The album opens with “Congadanza,” a supercharged track that includes a thicket of interlocking percussion, the driving bass of Angel Gaston Joya Perellada, and the first of several dazzling piano solos. The expansive “Afro-Comanche,” which honors Comanches who were deported to Cuba, is colored by strains of Native American melody. A tribute to Valdes’ father, “Bebo,” faintly echoes Horace Silver’s “Song for My Father,” while the touching “Pilar” honors Valdes’ mother. “Tabu” moves at an elegant pace as trumpeter Reinaldo Melian Alvarez and guest Branford Marsalis make impressive statements. Marsalis picks up his soprano sax for the closer, “Abdel,” a high-energy piece infused with North African flavor.

Customer Reviews


Chucho never disappoints!!


Born: October 9, 1941 in Quivican, Cuba

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Cuban pianist, bandleader, composer and arranger Chucho Valdes is a highly accomplished and influential figure in the world of Latin and Afro-Cuban jazz. Born in Quivican in 1941, Valdes is the son of the similarly influential Cuban bandleader Bebo Valdes from whom Chucho first received piano lessons. Having exhibited musical talent from a young age, Valdes eventually enrolled in the Municipal Music Conservatory of Havana, graduating at age 14. Inspired by such jazz pianists as Art Tatum and Thelonious...
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Border-Free, Chucho Valdés
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