Iowa City, Iowa (November 11, 2016)

Chucho Valdés/Piano / Joe Lavano , saxophone/flute /   Gastón joya Perella , Bass / Yaroldy Abreu, Percussion / Fransosco Mela , Drums

Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés, who first appeared on Blue Note in 1985, has been a key figure in the evolution of Afro-Cuban jazz for the past 50 years while saxophonist Joe Lovano, who started at that label in 1990, has recorded more albums on Blue Note than any other artist. Both fearless innovators at the forefront of artistic expression, this collaboration expands their shared quest for the leading edge in jazz expression.

 Bass player Gastón Joya Perellada  has been a sideman for Chucho Valdés in the recent revival of the seminal Latin jazz band Irakere, along with Yaroldy Abreu and drummer Rodney Barretto. Gastón has also performed with Cuban drums legend Enrique Plá in the Ernán López-Nussa’s trio for Ernán’s recently released and acclaimed album “Sacrilegios.”

 Pecussionist Yaroldy Abreu Robles was born in Sagua de Tanamo, Cuba and started his professional career in Holguin in 1995 with the group Agua. Chucho Valdés invited him to join his group Irakere and in 2001, the Chucho Valdés Jazz Quartet.  Yaroldy was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Traditional Tropical Album for Amadito Valdés’ Bajando Gervasio; and in 2004 he won the Latin Grammy Award in the Latin jazz category for Chucho Valdés Jazz Quartet’s New Conceptions. A valued teacher, Yaroldy has been invited to teach master classes in Europe and the U.S., and at various music festivals throughout the world.  

 Drummer Francisco Mela combines his knowledge of Cuban musical traditions with jazz and contemporary styles. Born in Bayamo, Cuba in 1968, Mela grew up studying the piano and drums and eventually enrolled at the Berklee College of Music in Boston in 2000. In 2001, Mela  joined  Joe Lovano’s group with bassist Esperanza Spalding.   In 2011, inspired by such longtime influences as Miles Davis’ band with keyboardists Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea, the innovative fusion group Weather Report, and Chucho Valdés with Irakere, Mela and his ensemble Cuban Safari released the studio effort ” Tree of Life.”


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