BOGOTA._ Famous Cuban jazz pianist Jesús “Chucho” Valdés will honor his former band “Irakere” with a new album including that band’s emblematic pieces performed by young instrumentalists.

Famous Cuban jazz pianist Jesús “Chucho” Valdés will honor his former band “Irakere” with a new album including that band’s emblematic pieces performed by young instrumentalists.Valdés told the Prensa Latina news agency that the idea was well received at last year’s Barcelona Jazz Festival where new young musicians performed some of the band’s famous pieces.

“Irakere siglo XXI (Irakere 21st Century) is the title of my next album to be recorded during a concert in France. It is expected to be ready by July,” he said.

“It’s an original initiative and I find it interesting that upcoming young artists want to make versions of songs performed by that band which was praised at several international venues,” Valdés added.

At his 74 years and with 86 albums to his credit, the famous Cuban musician says that he will not stop until he produces his 100th album.

When referring to the continuity of Latin Jazz in his birth country, Valdés said that he has faith in the talent of young Cuban musicians.

“Cuba is a music factory; a real powerhouse in that department. There are many talented exponents of Latin Jazz such as trumpet players, pianists, percussionists, and others who love what they do and are going through a process of incredible growth from a creative point of view,” he said at the end of a concert in Bogotá.

On his plans for the rest of the year, the pianist explained that he is organizing several tours of Europe and the United States, as well as performances in Brazil together with bands from that South American country.

The professor of several generations of instrumentalists performed at Bogotá’s Jorge Eliecer Gaitán Theater as well as in Medellín and Barranquilla.

”I definitely plan to return to Colombia next year - the reaction of the audience is always fabulous, amazing,” he commented.

He gained worldwide recognition as talented pianist at the age of 20 and founded the Irakere band some years later as a project to rescue and promote traditional Cuban music.

Famous Cuban jazz pianist Jesús “Chucho” Valdés will honor his former band “Irakere” with a new album including that band’s emblematic pieces performed by young instrumentalists.Valdés became a prominent figure of the global jazz movement during the Jamboree Festival held in 1970 in Warsaw; particularly in terms of his Afro-Cuban style.

The renowned Cuban musician, who was designated Goodwill Ambassador by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in 2006, has won three Latin Grammy Awards.

“My father Bebo Valdés was my professor in terms of both, the personal and artistic, aspects. His absence has left a big void in my life, but I try to honor his memory by devoting myself to music with all my heart,” he confessed.

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