Chucho Valdés And Irakere Celebrate Their 40th Anniversary With A Major U.S. Tour
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Cuban jazz legend Chucho Valdés's illustrious career with his band Irakere! In celebration, Valdés and Irakere will bring their distinctive sound to the U.S. this fall for a major cross-country tour beginning October 20 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Highlights include a week-long residency at SFJazz in San Francisco, followed by dates at Orchestral Hall in Chicago, Berklee Performance Center in Boston, Town Hall in New York and The Jackie Gleason Theater in Miami. It's a visit that coincides well with the opening of the Cuban embassy in Washington DC this month and the return of diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba.
The talented group of musicians has recently earned high praise for a residency at Ronnie Scott's in London; The Guardian hailed them as a "Cuban hurricane" that "delivered a vibrant set that mixed intense big-band jazz, funk, rock, ritual percussion and vocals".
A 2013 live album by Valdés and Irakere from Ronnie Scott's in Birmingham is available on First Hand Records; Songlines Magazine wrote of it: "Irakere's horn section snaps and brays, slashes and burns...Valdes himself is incendiary throughout. demonstrating his creative debt to Thelonious Monk on signature composition, 'Mister Bruce'".
Valdés's Jazz Village release Border-Free, recorded with his Afro-Cuban Messengers, was a Best Album of 2013 at NPR, CMJ, Jazziz Magazine and elsewhere. The New York Times gushed, "following [Valdés's] lead, the Afro-Cuban Messengers make earthy fantasias of rhythm", and The Boston Globe wrote, "[Valdés's] mastery as composer and player is on full display: an encyclopedic vocabulary of Afro-Cuban rhythms and an expansive palette that includes all manner of modern jazz as well as traditional classical repertoire."