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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

LAZARO VALDÉS

By Robert Kaye
Published February 2, 2006

De Tal Palo...Tal Valdés
Pimienta

Every once in a rare while (alas, it’s not more often), you come across an album, which, from the very first hearing promises to be something spectacular.  Repeated listening continually reveals its depth and craftsmanship.  While “De Tal Palo… Tal Valdés” was recorded in Germany and released in Europe two years ago, it is beginning to turn heads on our inculcated domestic shores.  As well it should.  The first solo album from the talented keyboardist/leader/composer/arranger of the famed Cuban Timba phenomenon, Bamboleo, here Valdés conjures up his very own brand of Jazz AfroCubano. He’s an enchanter extraordinaire.  Valdés penned six of the nine songs, arranging the others, including one by his famous uncle, Chucho Valdés.  From the first measures on the cover of Rafael Hernandez’s “Cumbanchero,” Valdés and Company leave no doubt they’re musicians of superior caliber, with muscular chops and playing with mucho gusto throughout. By the time track three, Valdés’ “Carcases a Bobby” slams into your tympanum with its beyond belief syncopation, it’s all over. Valdés creatively employs two bassists on most tracks; and drummer Rodney Barreto is phenomenal. Latin Jazz aficionados: Get this!