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Friday, March 30, 2018

Chucho, a living legend

Por sumily

Classical music is a land where Chucho Valdés has stepped on many occasions, such as the historic concert he offered in October 2015 at the Plaza de la Catedral in Havana with the Chinese pianist Lang Lang, with the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba. And although this is one of his future projects, it is one of the most indelible marks of his professional past.

The album he made with his father, Bebo Valdés, 'Together forever' was his last album, and it was also a dream that both of them achieved. The phonogram was recorded in 2007 and was the culmination of the extraordinary reunion between Chucho and his father decades after being separated, after the departure of Bebo de Cuba in 1960. Equally proud of all his children, who could not be otherwise inherited the musical talent of the family.

At 76, he has been a lucky man, he has fulfilled great dreams but he does not stop dreaming. The renowned Afro-Cuban jazz pianist Chucho Valdés is full of projects to be made and personal dreams, perhaps surprising, like spending a whole year giving classical concerts.

In an interview with Efe, who was the soul of Irakere, focused on his personal career in the last decade, affirms that this is not his specialty, but it is the way he has found to please himself.Valdés, who is currently in Moscow where he will offer concerts as part of his tour of Europe, finds in this trip a return to his origins, since it was precisely in the Russian capital where he started his international career half a century ago.

According to Chucho, just 50 years ago of his first visit to Moscow, in August 1968. His international career began there, it was the first time he left Cuba to play. The great exponent of Afro-Cuban jazz is almost a dream to play in the room where his favorite pianists, their idols, have played.

If a few days ago he delighted the audience playing four hands in Vienna and Hamburg with another great Cuban name, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, with whom he shares a tour, in Moscow he is alone at the piano before more than 1,500 spectators, with a unique recital full of styles and mergers.

Valdés affirms that on this occasion he will play a History of Music within the pianistic, Afro-Cuban and jazzistic improvisation. Music of The Lonious Monk, Duke Ellington, own compositions, by Chopin, by Russian composers such as Rimsky Kórsakov or Chaikovski, and also Cuban rumba.

The winner of nine Grammy awards already has two new projects in mind in the midst of the maelstrom of his numerous performances. A disco and a series of jazz batá performances are planned for this year and next, a kind of Afro-Cuban jazz with a different sense of rhythm and Yoruba songs. In 2020 he will continue with Symphonic Chucho, accompanied by an orchestra, another dream to fulfill.

The teacher does not rest and his curiosity, energy and musical versatility are endless. In addition to all his plans, he wants to spend time giving classical concerts. Although it does not have a date yet, it is a dream that you hope to realize after those two projects. Only classical piano, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Ravel.