Revisiting Seminal 1972 Recording

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Wednesday September 26, 2018

From Jazziz

Chucho Valdés Revisits Seminal 1972 Recording with a Sequel 46 Years Later
By: Matt Micucci

Chucho Valdés is one of the most highly accomplished and influential figures in the world of Latin and Afro-Cuban jazz. With his latest album, Jazz Batá 2, he revisits one of his most ambitious works: the small-group concept of his 1972 Cuban album Jazz Batá, which featured no drum set and was driven by the sound of the batá drum, a double-headed drum shaped like an hourglass with one end larger than the other that is primarily for the use of religious or semi-religious purposes for the native culture from the land of Yoruba, located in such countries as Valdés’ native Cuba.

Valdés’ 1972 band featured Carlos del Puerto on bass and Oscar Valdés on batá. The two virtuosi would subsequently be charter members of Irakere, whose explosive popularity in 1973 inspired Valdes to set aside his batá-driven small-group project until now, with the release of Jazz Batá 2, which finds him exploring the format “with more resources, in every sense,” he explains via a press release, “with a wider panorama.”

One song from Jazz Batá 2, titled “100 Años de Bebo (100 years of Bebo)” is a tune by Bebo rescued from oblivion by his son, and one of two songs on the album to also feature violinist Regina Carter. “No one’s heard this tune,” says the Chucho. “I’m the only person who knows it. When I was a child, Bebo played it on the piano at home. Just a tune, very beautiful, and as many times as he played it, it always captured my attention. I don’t believe he ever recorded it. since it’s his centenary, I added an introduction, I put a tumbao at the end, and recorded it.”

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