Though many of the best Cuban musicians have immigrated to the United States over the past couple decades, virtuoso pianist and bandleader Jesus Chucho Valdes has remained in Cuba. Whether that’s a political or musical stance, or just personal preference, Valdes has found plenty to do at home. Quite simply, he has become one of the most important pianists and leaders of his generation.

On his many major label releases over the last 15 years (and on hard-to-find labels for another 15 before then), his keyboard technique dances comfortably between classical, clave and jazz. On last year’s “New Conceptions,” one heard the influence of Claude Debussy alongside that of Miles Davis, both set to intense Afro-Cuban rhythms. On 2002’s “Fantasia Cubana,” he paid tribute to Frederic Chopin and Cuban maestro Ernesto Lacuona — all the while sounding like Oscar Peterson. These invigorating mixtures spring across preset musical patterns, but stay rooted in Latin tradition.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.