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Solo Piano (1991)

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Chucho Valdés

The leader and founder of Irakere, Chucho Valdes is also a brilliant pianist who may be on the same level of Gonzalo Rubalcaba. He has a very impressive classical technique and is able to hint at such players as McCoy Tyner, Lennie Tristano, and Cecil Taylor without watering down his Cuban heritage. This dazzling set covers a lot of ground with highlights, including "Blue Yes" (which is based on the chords of Charlie Parker's "Confirmation"), a sensitive Bill Evans tribute, and several nearly free explosions. Despite the CD's title, the final two of the ten selections add bass, drums, and percussion, and feature Valdes closely interacting with and pushing his sidemen. Highly recommended. ~ Scott Yanow