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A look inside The Jazz Gallery

Photo courtesy of the artist.

This weekend, pianist Manuel Valera’s New Cuban Express Big Band fills The Jazz Gallery stage over two nights of performances. As an extension of his long-running New Cuban Express project, Valera’s big band takes musical inspiration from Cuban artists of the 1970s and 80s, fusing Afro-Cuban rhythms with the sounds of American pop music and post-bop improvisation.

For these performances at the Gallery, the band will be performing compositions from Valera’s 2015 project, José Martí en Nueva York, originally premiered at The Jazz Gallery. The work features settings of poems by the Cuban writer José Martí, which he wrote while in exile in New York. Valera’s contemporary perspective, featuring knotty and richly-layered settings, show that Martí’s words have continuing relevance.

Before coming out to the Gallery to hear Valera’s José Martí compositions and others, take a listen to the composition “Por tus ojos encendidos” in the video below.

Manuel Valera’s New Cuban Express Big Band plays The Jazz Gallery on Friday, August 9, and Saturday, August 10, 2019. The group features Mr. Valera on piano, Camila Meza on voice, Michael Thomas, Remy LeBouef, Jon Irabagon, Jeremy Powell, and Alden Banta on saxophones; Brian Pareschi,
Mike Rodriguez, Dave Smith, and Alex Norris on trumpets; Sam Blakeslee, Mike Fahie, Nick Vayenas, and Jeff Nelson on trombones; Tom Guarna on guitar; Hamish Smith on bass; Jimmy Macbride on drums; and Samuel Torres on percussion. Sets are at 7:30 and 9:30 P.M. each night. $25 general admission ($10 for members), $35 reserved table seating ($20 for members) for each set. FREE for SummerPass holders. Purchase tickets here.