Da Camera presents Chucho Valdés – Jazz Bata

Da Camera presents Chucho Valdés – Jazz Bata

Da Camera of Houston's 2018-19 jazz series continues with a performance by Cuban pianist, composer, arranger and bandleader Chucho Valdés at the Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center, on Friday, February 8, 2019, at 8 p.m. Winner of six Grammy Awards, three Latin Grammy Awards and the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences' Lifetime Achievement Award, Valdés has been a key figure in the evolution of Afro-Cuban jazz for the past 50 years.

Jesus "Chucho" Valdés was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1941. He was introduced to the piano from a young age by his father, the well-known pianist and arranger Ramon "Bebo" Valdés. He started lessons with a tutor at 5 years of age, was enrolled as a full-time conservatory student at 10 and formed his first jazz trio at 15. In addition to his classical education, Chucho absorbed the rhythms of popular Cuban dance music and the sounds of touring American artists such as Nat "King" Cole and Sarah Vaughan who played at the Tropicana, where his father conducted the house orchestra.

In 1972, Valdés released Jazz Batá, a recording featuring a piano jazz trio with batá drums-the sacred, hourglass-shaped drums used in the ritual music of the Yoruba religion, Santeria-in place of the traditional drum kit. Bebo Valdés pioneered the concept of Afro-Cuban drums at the center of a jazz big band in the 1950s, but it was his son who popularized the use of batá in a different musical context. The recording formed the stylistic foundation of Irakere, a groundbreaking ensemble that fused African drum traditions and Cuban dance music. Valdés was the director, pianist, main composer and arranger of Irakere for more than 30 years.

Valdés recently returned to the Jazz Bata sound in a journey to discover new interpretations of classical forms. Jazz Batá 2, released in 2018 on Valdés' Comanche label, features bassist Yelsy Heredia, percussionists Dreiser Durruthy Bombalé and Yaroldy Abreu Robles, and guest violinist Regina Carter.

Da Camera's jazz series continues with Mark Guiliana Space Heroes on Saturday, March 23, 2019, and Dave Douglas Dizzy Atmosphere: Dizzy Gillespie at Zero Gravity on Friday, April 12, 2019.

Tickets for Chucho Valdés - Jazz Batá start at $42.50. Tickets are available by contacting Da Camera, 1402 Sul Ross, at 713-524-5050 or online at www.dacamera.com. Tickets for students and senior citizens are always half-price. $5 student rush tickets are available 30 minutes before the concert begins.

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