7:30p • $20 | 10p • $15
Back from his performance at Indy Jazz Fest 2012, Chuchito brings a dynamic trio featuring his bold Cuban pianoism + subtle ballad artistry.
His grand-father Bebo and father Chucho have paved the way for this fiery pianist to carry the Cuban paino legacy with great verve and conviction. Chuchito Valdes, of the Valdes Cuban piano dynasty presents an evening in homage to his Cuban roots through a blend of African rhythms and jazz harmonics.
Kenny Phelps – drums
Jeremy Allen – bass
Sometimes familial pressure forces a son into his father’s profession. Chuchito Valdes, son of famous Cuban pianist Chucho Valdez, claims to have never felt this pressure, but works as a great Latin jazz pianist all the same. And Chuchito is now one of the most exciting piano players around in his own right. Latin jazz is not a specialty of mine, so I don’t have the language to accurately capture all the intricate elements of Valdes’s soloing and vamping. However, I chose this particular video (despite its being an incomplete performance) because it captures so much of Chuchito. I especially appreciate the fact that the camera stays on Valdes for the entire five minutes. The physicality of his playing, which you can clearly see here as he sits down, stands up, and sings his piano parts throughout, is truly amazing. In this video, you see Valdez both exercise his delicate touch playing poly-rhythmically and utilize his entire forearms to lay into the piano. He quotes from Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” around 3:06 before moving into an unaccompanied wild, almost Tatum-esque – if Art Tatum were born in Cuba and not the States – section of his own rhapsody. Finally, he abandons the keys altogether, using his knuckles to turn the inside of the piano into a percussion instrument. As one audience member repeatedly yells, “me gusta!”