Chuchito Valdes and the Afro-Cuban Ensemble play Summer of Jazz |

Chuchito Valdes and the Afro-Cuban Ensemble play Summer of Jazz

Chuchito Valdes and the Afro-Cuban Ensemble bring their exciting mix of Latin jazz and traditional Cuban dance music to Two Rivers Park Wednesday, July 23, in the last concert of the Summer of Jazz series. The show begins at 7 p.m.

The ensemble performs Afro-Cuban originals written by Valdes and arrangements of classic Latin jazz standards by his father, Chucho Valdes Sr., Irakere and more.

The origin of the group is typical of the wide-world appeal of Afro-Cuban music. Composed of six to eight pieces, the ensemble has been featured at international music festivals in Havana and Cancun, Mexico. The group toured the United States in 2002, performing in concert from Chicago to San Francisco.

Valdes was born in Havana and comes from one of the most distinguished musical families of Cuba. He has recorded and performed piano with the Cuban band Irakere, which he led for two years. He’s also performed at music festivals, clubs and in concert throughout the world and recently completed his first recording.

As a child prodigy, he studied Cuban, classical music and jazz piano.

The band’s new CD, “Encantado,” features Valdes on piano; Laksar Reese on tenor and soprano saxophones and flute; Tito Carillo, trumpet and flugelhorn; Hector Silveira, electric bass and percussion; Jonathon Paul, acoustic bass; Frankie Ocasio on congas; Carlos Quintos, congas and vocals; Jose Ormaza, drums; and Javier Gonzales, drums, timbales and maracas.

Valdes joined forces in this debut album with Australian co-leader and saxophonist Laksar Reese, putting together an album of enormous strength, vigor and rhythmic fire.

“Encantado” mixes many musical styles: American jazz, Cuban “son” and folkloric tunes and Cuban dance music.

Bring a picnic dinner or grab something good from the 8th St. Deli booth in the park, and for dessert, try one of Jeff Isaacson’s Italian ices.

Remember, no glass bottles or containers and no dogs, please.

The concert is free, but donations are welcome.

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