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With his spade-like hands capable of being as delicate as a lace maker, the godfather of Cuban jazz Chucho Valdés (six Grammies and three Latin Grammy Awards) is back with Jazz Batá 2 (2018). 47 years after his first eponymous volume, the giant has brought the influence of the famous batá drum into modern times (sacred Yoruba religious instrument in Cuba). So he's revived the concept of his 1972 Jazz Batá  album. At the time, this simple trio project with no drums was experimental. The pianist may have dropped the small band after the roaring success of Irakere (from 1973) but he's always wanted to go back to it. So he has, "with a wider panorama and quintet", says Jésus "Chucho" Valdès. His father Bebo Valdès, the inventor of batanga beats in 1952, taught him music. The album and tour coming our way also mark the centenary of Ramón "Bebo" Valdés (1918-2013) and Chucho's 77th birthday (they were both born on October 9th). The trumpet player Roy Hargrove was a regular at Jazz à Vienne and passed away in November 2018. His unforgettable performance with his quintet at the Roman Theatre on July 12th will remain an incredible memory of the bond between the trumpet player and Vienne audience. The Cuban maestro Chucho Valdès remembers getting a Grammy for his involvement in Roy Hargrove's American-Cuban project Crisol 20 years ago (1998). The Louisiana trumpet player Terence Blanchard is the quintet's special guest and will replicate Roy's flair and talent in this moving tribute.

Line-up : Chucho Valdes (p), Terence Blanchard (t), Yelsy Heredia (cb), Yaroldy Abreu (perc, v), Dreiser Durruthy (Batas, v), Abraham Mansfarroll (perc)

Crédit photo : © C. Friedman, DR