Manuel Valera stands in a long line of virtuoso Cuban-born musicians based in New York. As a pianist, he's established himself as a versatile first-call musician; as a bandleader, he's often found new connections between pan-Latin rhythms and modern jazz styles. His New Cuban Express band, a sextet heavy on rhythm and percussion, is his first to specifically address Cuban music. The group's new album comes out on Valera's own label later this year.
In a bill which paired two different visions of Latin jazz in the 21st century, Valera opened for Alexis Cuadrado's A Lorca Soundscape project at 92Y Tribeca in downtown New York City Wednesday night. The shows were broadcast on air via WBGO and in an online video webcast at NPR Music. For more information about this series and a full concert archive, visit npr.org/checkoutlive.
All compositions by Manuel Valera unless otherwise indicated.
- "New Cuban Express No. 89"
- "Me Faltabas Tú" (J.A. Mendez)
- "Open Window"
- Manuel Valera, piano/keyboards
- Yosvany Terry, saxophone
- Tom Guarna, guitar
- John Benitez, bass
- Eric Doob, drums
- Mauricio Herrera, percussion
Producer and Host: Josh Jackson; Audio Engineer: David Tallacksen; Production Assistant: Michael Downes. Recorded March 28, 2012 at 92Y Tribeca in New York, N.Y.