Chucho Valdés: JAZZ BATÁ

Feb 5-7

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Winner of six Grammy Awards and three Latin Grammy Awards, the Cuban pianist, composer, arranger, and bandleader Chucho Valdés has been a key figure in the evolution of Afro-Cuban jazz for the past 50 years. In 1972, Chucho released his fourth album, a recording with bass and batá drums entitled simply, Jazz Batá. This ten-song exploration of the descarga roots of Cuban jazz was a departure from his early quintet recordings. Blending jazz with traditional rhythms of the sacred batá, the music showcased Chucho’s virtuosity and formed the stylistic foundation of what would become Chucho’s history-making group, Irakere. Decades later, Chucho returns to the Jazz Batá sound, joined by bassist Yelsy Heredia, plus percussionists Dreiser Durruthy Bombalé and Yaroldy Abreu Robles in a journey to discover modern interpretations of classic forms. Chucho looks forward to the release of the next Jazz Batá album in November 2018.

Chucho’s 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 his 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. Now in his mid-70s, Chucho’s technique and creative output are as prodigious as ever. Border-Free finds Chucho at the top of his game, leading the Afro-Cuban Messengers, a spectacular quintet comprised of brilliant young Cuban musicians. In conjunction with their anniversary tour in 2015, Chucho released the Grammy Award winning album, Tribute to Irakere: Live at Marciac (Jazz Village/Harmonia Mundi).


"As a pianist, composer and arranger, Chucho Valdés has become one of the most influential figures in modern Afro-Cuban jazz"

"A pianist of imperial command, possessed of a dazzling, deceptively casual virtuosity"

"El maestro Chucho Valdés is one of the great treasures of the music world… Valdés grounds his work in the aural history of mother Cuba, while seamlessly weaving in aspects of folk, jazz and classical to create a singular musical vision"

Upcoming Shows

JUN. 20
Route 66 Jazz Orchestra
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The Route 66 Jazz Orchestra is a 20-piece group dedicated to the preservation and promotion of “Big Band” jazz through performance, education, and community involvement. Founded in 1969 by Dr. Ron Stillwell as the Meramec Jazz Lab Band, Route 66 Jazz continues to act as jazz ambassadors for the community.

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JUN. 21-22
Roosevelt Collier

JUN. 28-29
Denise Thimes
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In a career that spans over three decades, Denise Thimes has truly been one of the most cherished voices of modern jazz, and for two-nights she’ll fill the Bistro with the sounds of one our region’s best voices.

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JUN. 15, 19, 21, 23, 27 & 29
FIRE SHUT UP IN MY BONES: co-commissioned w. Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
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Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’s 2019 world premiere Fire Shut Up in My Bones, was co-commissioned by Jazz St. Louis.

One moment can change everything. When Charles discovers that his cousin has returned to his Louisiana hometown, he races home from college to confront his past. Memories and shadows surround Charles as he strives to move beyond a cycle of violence and forge a brave new path. Terence Blanchard, composer of OTSL’s sold-out hit Champion, teams up with screenwriter Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou) for a haunting, powerful, and tender coming-of-age story inspired by a memoir celebrated as “stunning” (Essence), “riveting” (Chicago Tribune), and “exquisite” (The New York Times).

Run time is 2 hours and 25 minutes with one intermission
All run times are approximate and subject to change.

 

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MISSION

Jazz St. Louis is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to lead our community in advancing the uniquely American art of jazz through live performance, education and community engagement.

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