Bringing the Rhythm

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Thursday May 31, 2018

From the Charleston Post & Courier

At this year’s Spoleto, Chucho Valdes brings the rhythm
By: Aaron Halls

A the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City earlier this year, acclaimed Cuban jazz pianist Chucho Valdes nods his head, topped in a black beret, in sync with the rhythm. His fingers fly across the keys. The audience is transfixed. The music seems to almost take on a euphoric, tangible quality.

Valdes brings his engaging style and Cuban swing to the 2018 Spoleto Festival. His quartet includes Yaroldy Abreu Robles on percussion, Dafnis Priesto on drums and Yelsy Heredia on bass.

[…] Berklee College of Music professor Rebecca Cline studied with Valdes in Havana in 1996, and her ‘Intro to Latin Jazz’ and ‘Afro-Cuban Styles’ ensembles perform his music. She said Valdes is a compelling performer due to his awareness of, and ability to play for, an audience.

‘He has some special skills that not many pianists are able to do,’ Cline said. ‘For example, he’ll play an ostinato figure in his left hand ‘” it’s a figure that some people call a montuno. He’ll play that in his left hand, it’s a repetitive figure, and in his right he’ll improvise, sometimes, very virtuosic melodic lines, and that’s really exciting to watch and listen to.’

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