Unforgettable Performance by Valdes & Lovano

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Tuesday November 29, 2016

From Jazz Police

Chucho Valdes & Joe Lovano Quintet (November 17-20)
By: Ken Vermes

The Chucho Valdes & Joe Lovano Quintet that performed November 17-20 was another powerhouse and thrilling series of shows. It featured not only two master leaders but a flowing, musical rhythm section of Gaston Joya (bass), Francisco Mela (drums), and Yaroldi Abreu Robles (congas and percussion). The band played originals from the two leaders as well Thelonius Monk tunes and a McCoy Tyner song, “You Taught My Heart to Sing.” Chucho is always a very exciting player to see, but the opportunity to witness a full quintet performance with a rhythm section on fire is special, indeed. This melding of North and South, American jazz and Cuban, Latin playing and rhythms, had the excitement and level of performance that was reminiscent of the days when Dizzy Gillespie turned on the Latin heat through recordings and performances. That music, and the sheer excitement it generated around the world, was very much in mind as this group played song after song that gave the rhythm players constant room to weave in and out of the tapestry of music. The balance and respect Lovano and Valdes allowed in the show was something not only very special, but reflected in the playing of the rhythm players themselves. These younger and highly accomplished performers were blending every touch with the music, listening, reflecting and reacting in complete union with the leaders. This was a performance we will not forget.

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