“When I listen to a Cuban pianist like Chucho Valdés, or someone like Bill Evans or Red Garland, there’s a connection between the two worlds,” said pianist Manuel Valera for an interview with Jazz Speaks. “When I listen to drummer Elvin Jones at a slower tempo, it sounds almost Afro-Cuban—the way he plays the triplets under the ride cymbal pattern. When things are colliding with each other, something good usually comes out.”
Since releasing his début album, Forma Nuevo (MAVO), in 2004, Valera has gone on to release a total of nine albums under his name, most recently In Motion (Criss Cross), the third release by his New Cuban Express band, in September, as well as his first solo release, Self-Portrait, in August.
Valera last presented a band on our stage in June, when he premiered Martí en Nueva York, a Chamber Music America-commissioned work which honored Cuban national hero José Martí. Check out our conversation with Valera from March, when he last appeared on our stage with his trio in another iteration that featured Hans Glawischnig on bass and Jeff “Tain” Watts on drums. He’ll be appearing this weekend with Glawischnig again on bass and E.J. Strickland on drums. Here they are performing Valera’s original composition “Spiral” at Firehouse 12 in October:
The Manuel Valera Trio performs this Friday, December 12th, 2014, at The Jazz Gallery. The trio features Valera on piano, Hans Glawischnig on bass, and E.J. Strickland on drums. Sets are at 8 and 10 p.m., $22 general admission and $10 for Members. Purchase tickets here.