Artist: Bebo Valdes & Javier Colina
Album: Live At The Village Vanguard
Label: Sony BMG
Format: MP3@320 kbps
Sound Quality: FULL
Size: 150 MB
Release Date: 2008
Genre: Afro-Cuban Jazz, Latin, World Fusion
Bebo Valdés has been one of the giants of Cuban music since the 1950s, though he has lived in Stockholm since the early '60s. This live recording, his very first, was made in 2005 over several nights at the Village Vanguard, with Valdés at the age of 86. The pianist's powerful left hand makes it superfluous for him to have a percussionist; his sole accompanist is bassist Javier Colina, a gifted partner who weaves intricate lines with Valdés. Though the music is dominated by Cuban rhythms, this live CD is hardly one-dimensional in scope. Valdés' rhythmic composition "Con Poco Coco" works in quotes from "Old Devil Moon" and "Salt Peanuts." His dramatic rendition of the standard "Yesterdays" is pure mainstream, with a few flourishes added, while his lovely setting of Bill Evans' "Waltz for Debby" is very playful. Of course, the bulk of the disc focuses on Latin gems, including a lighthearted take of Ernesto Lecouna's "Andalucía" and a sauntering version of Lecouna's "Siboney." If there had been room in the packed nightclub, the audience would have likely been up dancing to the lively "Bilongo," though they do chant the lyrics along with the musicians. Highly recommended. ~Ken Dryden, All Music
Tracklist01 - Con Poco Coco (Bebo Valdés) 06:29
02 - Sabor a Mí (A. Carrillo) 03:34
03 - Ritmando el Cha-Cha-Cha (Bebo Valdés) 05:50
04 - Rosa Mustia (A. Díaz) 06:28
05 - Andalucía (Ernesto Lecuona) 02:29
06 - Siboney (Ernesto Lecuona) 04:11
07 - Tres Palabras (O. Farrés) 02:41
08 - Aquellos Ojos Verdes (N. Menéndez, A. Utreras) 03:54
09 - Bilongo (Guillermo Rodriguez-Fiffe) 05:48
10 - Si Te Contara (F. Reina) 04:30
11 - Bebo's Blues (Bebo Valdés) 04:44
12 - Yesterdays (Jerome Kern) 04:15
13 - El Manisero (M. Simons) 05:26
14 - Waltz for Debby (Bill Evans) 04:50
Bebo Valdez - piano
Javier Colina - bass
The comparison between pianists Bebo Valdes and his son Chucho Valdes could be likened to the choice of the Beatles (Bebo) to the Rolling Stones (Chucho). A more likely frame of reference would be Bebo as the Cuban version of Hank Jones and Chucho that of Don Pullen.
Like Jones, Bebo started as an accompanist, only to shine as a soloist in his later years. Now nearly 90, his music just seems to get better and better. This session is his recording at the Village Vanguard, the jazz mecca in New York. Accompanying Valdes is his favorite bassist, Javier Colina.
And like Jones, his simple charm and dignity is ever present in his music making. The lushness of his touch pervades this recording as the audience shows its enthusiasm throughout. He plays three originals, some pop covers, Cuban classics and the familiar jazz standards "Yesterdays" and "Waltz for Debby."
Playing his composition "Con Poco Coco," Valdes makes it clear that Cuban jazz is indeed a fusion of Latin, Caribbean, American jazz, and popular musics. It is all at once joyous and celebratory. When Colina takes up his bow to drop hints of "Old Devil Moon," Valdes retorts with "Salt Peanuts." And so it goes. The audience is encouraged to sing along with the pop tune "Bilongo." Here Valdes' playful side is revealed, as it is on the cha-cha'd "Ritmando el cha-cha-cha." If you ain't swaying in your seat, brother you must be dead.
The pair are well versed in classical Cuban music too. They deftly take on "Siboney" and "Analucia," almost—to repeat, almost—playing them straight. But then there is the boogie-woogie "Bebo's Blues" that turns Gershwin's "Rhapsody" into a Cuban blues, as well as his take on Bill Evans' "Waltz For Debby," which maintains the simplicity of the composition but swings it (with the clever pulse of Colina) with his immutable style. A beautiful recording, I wish I could have been there.~MARK CORROTO, allaboutjazz