Chucho Valdés
El Comité feat. Laura Prince


Chucho Valdés

Competition among pianists is tough in Cuba, but one who does stand out from the crowd is legendary Chucho Valdés, who at 82 years is dubbed the 'Cuban Mozart' and who started training his fingers on his family's piano aged 4, playing songs he heard on the radio by ear. From his youth on his native island, he has always retained an incredible ability to adapt to all musical styles; it shows in the ease with which he throws himself into mindboggling jazz improvisations to get his audience dancing.
In 1973, the formation of Irakere — 'forest' in Yoruba — an offshoot from the Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna had him join a whole new league alongside other compatriots and fantastic soloists — trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, saxophonist Paquito d’Rivera, and percussionist Anga Díaz... 'Irakere performs free and universalised Cuban music', he explained a decade after the birth of this fabulous group that truly embodies in all its diversity the spirit of this island's popular and learned music. 'We wanted to perform both Cuban dance music and Cuban jazz. Since we'd all attended music school, we started going to balls to get a sense of how people danced'. Fifty years later, there is no doubt that this will be a truly remarkable ball at the Théâtre Antique.

Line-up :

  • Chucho Valdés (piano)
  • Ramón Alvarez (vocals)
  • Luis Beltrán (alto saxophone)
  • Carlos Averhoff Jr. (tenor saxophone)
  • Eddy De Armas Jr. (trumpet)
  • Osvaldo Fleites (trumpet)
  • José A. Gola (bass)
  • Roberto Jr. Vizcaíno Torre (percussion)
  • Horacio Hernández (drums)

El Comité feat. Laura Prince

© DR

An entire generation of the Cuban diaspora stepped on stage in Toulouse in 2017: seven musicians — all soloists — came together for a 'noche cubana' whose outcome was a foregone conclusion. These artists had known each other since their school days; they had grown up together, learnt how to play music together, performed together, and they all felt the same love for their island's music — traditional, alive and contemporary. And then everyone had gone their own way, embarked upon separate musical adventures, at times as sidemen, at others as bandleaders. The day they performed together again, they were struck by unspeakable joy — one that still hasn't dissipated, seven years after that performance in Toulouse.

El Comité is a brilliant group of soloists able to pool their experience and talent to become one. There is no leader; everyone brings their own compositions and ideas to the drawing board, doubtless itself hewn from the same educational bedrock and affinities. Joy, friendship, goodwill... are some of the words that they use to describe this musical adventure that is also fundamentally about humanity. That's something you can't fail to miss at every one of their stage performances. As they gear up for the release of their second studio album, Carrousel, El Comité promises a ride-to-remember, further enriched by the vocals of very special guest Laura Prince.

Line-up :

  • Laura Prince (vocals)
  • Rolando Luna (piano)
  • Irving Acao (saxophone)
  • Carlos Sarduy (trumpet)
  • Gaston Joya (bass)
  • Yaroldy Abreu (percussions)
  • Rodney Barreto (drums)