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Chucho Valdés Brings Vibrant Cuban Rhythms to Denison University

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by Mark Subel on October 23, 2012

Denison University’s Vail Series presents Grammy-award-winning pianist Chucho Valdés and his quintet for an evening of high-octane jazz at 8 p.m., on Friday, Oct. 26, in Swasey Chapel (200 Chapel Drive.) A limited number of tickets may be offered for sale to the general public at $15 if space allows. Details will be available at vailseries.org and on the Vail Series hotline at 740-587-6557.

“Jazz is freedom made into music,” says Valdés, who began playing piano at the age of three, during the mid 20th century and what many consider to be the golden age of Cuban music. His early environment was saturated with music; Valdés’ father led the house band for the Tropicana Club in the 1950s, recorded with Nat King Cole and hosted a number of American jazz musicians and others who came to play in Havana.

Graduating from the Municipal Music Conservatory of Havana at the tender age of 14, Valdés started his own jazz trios and eventually formed Irakere, a Latin jazz group that earned international acclaim and brought Valdés his first Grammy. He has since earned seven more of the prestigious music awards, and after six decades dedicated to jazz, he continues to record today.

The New York Times calls Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés’ concerts “such a controlled detonation of music that it kicks down your defenses.” They refer to him as a “pianist of imperial command.” In fact, most critics seem to be surprised that after a lifelong career, he still surprises them. Hailed as “one of the world’s great virtuosic pianists” by the Times, eight-time Grammy Award winner Valdés has recorded more than 80 CDs, performing with countless jazz masters, including Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis, and Chick Corea. Last here in 2002, this will be Valdés’ second Vail appearance.

The Vail Series invites the community to enjoy an expansive concert by a veritable old master of jazz.

CALENDAR LISTING, Denison University, Granville—Concert: Chucho Valdés and his quintet at 8 p.m., on Friday, Oct. 26, in Swasey Chapel (200 Chapel Drive.) A limited number of tickets may be offered for sale to the general public at $15 if space allows. Details will be posted at www.vailseries.org or call 740-587-6557.

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