Chucho Valdés and the Afro-Cuban Messengers



8 p.m., Saturday, February 4, 2012
Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts
Ticket: $40, $35, $30

Image: Chucho ValdesLatin Jazz royalty visits the area when Chucho Valdés and the Afro-Cuban Messengers perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, February 4, 2012, at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. Tickets are $40, $35, and $30.

Winner of five Grammy Awards and three Latin Grammy Awards, Dionisio Jesús "Chucho" Valdés Rodríguez, born in Quivicán, Cuba, in 1941, is one of Cuba's most famous pianists, bandleaders, composers and arrangers. Having began his music training with his father, famed pianist Bebo Valdés, when he was 3 years old, Chucho Valdés has a style that melds his diverse experiences and skills: classical, jazz, bop, Cuban and swing, all combined by his virtuosic dexterity on the piano. Perhaps best known for founding the influential Latin jazz band Irakere in 1973, Valdés continues to develop unique works of art, generating ideas for a change of style, orchestral format and concept. While exploring his own growth, Valdés, joined by the Afro-Cuban Messengers, pays tribute to those that have influenced him and aided his musical development both in concert and on record. Chucho Valdés' newest recording, "Chucho's Steps," is as much a discovery for the preeminent pianist as for his audience. With this release, his first solo project in seven years, Valdés speaks in styles that merge hard bob, modal jazz, free jazz and Afro-Cuban music through his distinctive and extraordinary compositions, arrangements, and interpretations, reflecting upon his own evolution throughout the previous years. The touring band includes Mayra Caridad Valdés on vocals, Lázaro Rivero Alarcón on bass, Juan Carlos Rojas Castro on drums, Yaroldy Abreu Robles on percussion, Dreiser Durruthy Bambolé on bata drum and vocals, Carlos Manuel Miyares Hernandez on tenor sax, and Reinaldo Melián Álvarez on trumpet.

The Quick Center concert is part of an extensive national tour that marks Chucho's return to the U.S. for the first time in seven years. Over the past three decades, he has earned eight Grammy Awards and 16 nominations. His most recent win, a 2009 Latin Grammy for the record Juntos para Siempre, saw him collaborate with his father, Bebo Valdés. Chucho Valdés has recorded over eighty CDs and performed with leaders in the world of jazz, from Herbie Hancock and Dizzy Gillespie, to Wynton Marsalis and Chick Corea. His reputation as one of the greatest living Cuban jazz pianists has earned him appearances on the greatest stages in music, including Carnegie Hall, where he appeared last weekend, to The Kennedy Center and The Hollywood Bowl.

His illustrious career includes the founding of the group Irakere in 1973, widely recognized as the most important group in Cuban musical history in the second half of the 20th century. An explosive mixture of jazz, rock, classical and traditional Cuban Music, Irakere produced a sound that had never been heard before, that revolutionized Latin music. In 2000, Chucho was inducted into the Latin Jazz Hall of Fame in Los Angeles, CA. In 2006, a ceremony held at the Vatican, in which Chucho, who gives annual benefit concerts in Havana on World Food Day (Oct 16), was named Good Will Ambassador by the Food and Agricultural Association of the United Nations. He formed Chucho Valdés & the Afro-Cuban Messengers in 2009.

In a review of last weekend's New York City concert, his first appearance at Carnegie Hall since the North American debut of Irakere 34 years ago, the New York Times describes his pianism as "great hydraulic fountains of notes, each drop sparkling as it falls." NPR Music adds to the accolades: "Chucho is a musician, who has so much virtuosity, and so much musicianship that it takes a lot of listening to find out everything that he's doing."

Tickets are available through the Quick Center Box Office: (203) 254-4010, or toll-free 1-877-ARTS-396. (1-877-278-7396). Tickets can also be purchased online at www.fairfield.edu/quick.

The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts is located on the campus of Fairfield University at 1073 North Benson Road in Fairfield, Connecticut. Entrance to the Quick Center is through the Barlow Road gate at 200 Barlow Road. Free, secure parking is available. Access for people with disabilities is available throughout the Quick Center for audience members and performers. Hearing amplification devices are available upon request at the Box Office. Fairfield University is located off exit 22 of Interstate-95. For further information and directions, call (203) 254-4010 or 1-877-278-7396, or visit www.fairfield.edu/quick.

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Media Contact: Mike Horyczun, (203) 254-4000 ext. 2647, mhoryczun@fairfield.edu

Posted on January 26, 2012

Vol. 44, No. 176