Born in Quivican, Cuba, in 1941, Chucho Valdes is one of Cuba's most famous pianists, bandleaders, composers and arrangers. Perhaps best known for founding the famous Latin jazz band Irakere in 1972, Chucho's illustrious career has also garnered him six Grammy wins and 16 nominations over the past three decades. He's recorded over 80 CDs and performed with everyone from Herbie Hancock and Dizzy Gillespie to Wynton Marsalis and Chick Corea. Chucho's new CD, "Chucho's Steps", with the Afro-Cuban Jazz Messengers, marks his return to the U.S. for the first time in 7 years.
Grammy Award-winner Danilo Perez is among the most influential and dynamic musicians of our time. In just over a decade, his distinctive blend of Pan-American jazz has attracted critical acclaim and loyal audiences. The Panama native first attracted the spotlight in the late-'80s as the youngest member of Dizzy Gillespie's United Nations Orchestra. Since then, the pianist has toured and/or recorded with jazz greats like Wayne Shorter, Roy Haynes and Michael Brecker. In 1993, he turned his focus to his own ensembles and recording projects. His new release, "Providencia", crosses streams of jazz, classical and Latin American folk music.
Also out with new music: singer Cynthia Felton showcase the Ellington songbook on "Come Sunday"; saxophonist and composer Albert Rivera, whom DownBeat Magazine touts as "part of the next wave in this jazz ritual," unveils his second release, "Inner Peace"; and veteran guitarist and composer Tom Rizzo, originally a member of Doc Severinsen's fusion group Xebron and a regular member of the Tonight Show Band in its final Carson years, is joined by a stellar new ensemble of some of L.A.'s finest on "Imaginary Numbers."