Personalities | Chucho Valdés | Contemporary Era | Jazz & Blues
(Piano, b. 1941)
Chucho remained in Cuba after his father, pianist Bebo Valdés, defected in the late 1950s. In his mid-20s Chucho established Orquesta Cubana de Musica Moderna, which became the much-recorded, internationally touring jazz showband Irakere; he turned it over to his son in 1998. A large man with huge hands, Valdés is capable of sweeping ballads as well as dazzling fast display. He teaches at Havana’s Beny Moré School of Improvised Music and at the Banff Center for the Arts in Canada, and directs the annual Cuban Jazz festival.
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