12 Songs, 1 Hour, 6 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The bridge from Havana to New York City has been crossed by countless musicians; pianist Manuel Valera did it himself in 1994. Here on his seventh album, he again focuses on blending Afro-Cuban rhythms with modern electric jazz. Starting things with a bang, “Chamber Timba” has a dazzling energy paired with knotty passages that would keep any dancer on his or her toes. While Valera is the kind of bandleader and composer who leaves a lot of room for his band to shine (particularly guitarist Tom Guarna and saxophonist Yosvany Terry), he does step to the foreground, notably on the tricky “Chennai Express” (with its 11/4 time signature) and the brief solo piece “Intro to Isabelita” (which precedes the main piece, a near-perfect blend of jazz fusion and Afro-Cuban drumming). Giving the listener brief respites, the soft cha-cha-cha of “Perception” and the bolero “La Gloria Eres Tu” reveal a softer side. Suffice to say, it'll be hard to find a better blend of modern jazz and Afro-Cuban clave anytime soon.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The bridge from Havana to New York City has been crossed by countless musicians; pianist Manuel Valera did it himself in 1994. Here on his seventh album, he again focuses on blending Afro-Cuban rhythms with modern electric jazz. Starting things with a bang, “Chamber Timba” has a dazzling energy paired with knotty passages that would keep any dancer on his or her toes. While Valera is the kind of bandleader and composer who leaves a lot of room for his band to shine (particularly guitarist Tom Guarna and saxophonist Yosvany Terry), he does step to the foreground, notably on the tricky “Chennai Express” (with its 11/4 time signature) and the brief solo piece “Intro to Isabelita” (which precedes the main piece, a near-perfect blend of jazz fusion and Afro-Cuban drumming). Giving the listener brief respites, the soft cha-cha-cha of “Perception” and the bolero “La Gloria Eres Tu” reveal a softer side. Suffice to say, it'll be hard to find a better blend of modern jazz and Afro-Cuban clave anytime soon.

TITLE TIME
4:16
6:26
7:19
5:55
1:11
7:00
6:49
5:15
8:30
4:55
5:35
2:59

About Manuel Valera

Cuban-born pianist/composer and bandleader Manuel Valera is a forward-minded jazz musician with a knack for combining myriad Latin styles with contemporary jazz and post-bop. Starting out as a saxophonist while studying at the Manuel Saumell Conservatory in Havana, Valera switched full-time to piano after moving to the United States and enrolling in the New School in New York City around 1994. He has performed with a variety of name musicians, including bassist John Patitucci, reed player Paquito D'Rivera, saxophonist Seamus Blake, percussionist Dafnis Preito, trumpeter Claudio Roditi, and many others. He released his debut album, Forma Nueva, on Mavo Records in 2004. Since then he has released a handful of records, including Melancolia in 2006 and Vientos in 2007. Currents arrived in 2009, with New Cuban Express following in 2012. ~ Matt Collar

Songs

Albums

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