Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: Theodosius I to David Watmough Biography - David Watmough comments: » Jésus "Chucho" Valdés: 1941—: Musician Biography - Grew Up Around Jazz Greats, Became Known In United States, Hosted Radio Show

Jésus "Chucho" Valdés: 1941—: Musician - Became Known In United States

hargrove sometimes piano play

The name of Chucho Valdés had been a household word in Cuba and in various other places from the 1960s on. But because of the embargo against Cuba begun by President Kennedy, Valdés was virtually unknown in the United States until the late 1990s when Valdés played on Roy Hargrove's Grammy-winning album Crisol. Sixteen years earlier, in 1980, Valdés founded the Annual Havana International Jazz Festival, an event he continues to direct. A variety of international musicians are invited to take part in the festival, and in 1996, it was Roy Hargrove's turn.

Hargrove invited Valdés to play in Hargrove's band in the United States, and after that, Valdés' North American career took off, with a string of concerts in major cities and several albums released in the country.

In recent years, Valdés has worked as a solo artist, and in groups he founded—the Chucho Valdés Three and the Chucho Valdés Quartet. He continued to play and record with Irakere. Valdés's concerts benefitted from his inspired improvisational performances and commanding presence on stage. He told Down Beat that "Sometimes I think I'm a piano, and sometimes I think that the piano is me. Sometimes I play the piano, and sometimes the piano plays me. The music is always in my head. It's all of my life. It's my life."

Jésus "Chucho" Valdés: 1941—: Musician - Hosted Radio Show [next] [back] Jésus "Chucho" Valdés: 1941—: Musician - Grew Up Around Jazz Greats

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