CHUCHO VALDES QUARTET
Winner of six Grammy Awards and three Latin Grammy Awards, the Cuban pianist, composer, arranger and bandleader Dionisio Jesús “Chucho” Valdés has been a key figure in the evolution of Afro-Cuban jazz for the past 50 years. His musical education includes formal studies and countless nights on the best stages in Cuba as the pianist with his father, Bebo Valdés, and his orchestra Sabor de Cuba, and also the seminal Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna. In the early 70s, Chucho distilled this experiences into the foundation of Irakere, an ensemble that marked a before and after in Afro-Cuban jazz. Chucho was the director, pianist, main composer and arranger of Irakere for more than 30 years. But since 2005, he has focused on his personal career, highlighting his work as a pianist and leading small ensembles. His 2014 recording, Border-Free, portrays Chucho at the top of his game, leading his Afro-Cuban Messengers, a spectacular quintet comprising yet another generation of young brilliant Cuban musicians, in a search that transcends styles and traditions. His most recent major project as bandleader was Irakere 40, a tribute celebration that resulted in his most recent Grammy in 2017.