by Scott Yanow
A top-notch pianist/composer/arranger, Bebo Valdes (father of pianist Chucho Valdes) was the musical director of nightclub shows at the Tropicana in Havana by 1948.
Very active in the 1950s, Valdes was considered one of the giants of Cuban music, arranging many recordings, composing mambos, and organizing Afro-Cuban jazz jam sessions.
He defected from Cuba in 1960 and by 1963 had settled in Stockholm. In 1994, after 34 years off records, he cut Bebo Rides Again for the Messidor label, not only playing piano but composing eight numbers and arranging 11 songs in the 36 hours before the first session; he was 76 at the time. (AMG)
This 1959 compilation of the maestro, Bebo Valdes, was recorded in Havana by Everest Records.
The sound quality is exceptional since the stereo masters were used. With the onslaught of Cuban music, many CDs were released with less than dynamic sound reproduction. It is satisfying to hear the vibrant bottom and midrange in these classic recordings.
These choice tracks were recorded just before the great pianist fled Cuba in hopes that the regime and his exile would be short-lived. Music trumps politics, so these great arrangements of the legendary pianist provide a peek back to a glorious golden era. The orchestra is in top form and so is the maestro.
This is an integral part of the mother lode of the Cuban big-band sound. There's plenty of drive and percussion in the cha chas and mambos to move the dustiest of shoes and hips. With all due respect to the revival spurred by Ry Cooder, gems like this album are some of the original fountains that flowed during the heyday of Cuban big bands.
This album stands on its own and is timeless in its appeal. Highly recommended. (AMG)
01. Babalu [2:54]
02. Cha Cha No.1 [2:39]
03. El Cumbanchero [2:41]
04. Habana [2:47]
05. A Quien Enganes [3:30]
06. Ita Morreal [2:37]
07. El Manisero [2:39]
08. Feria De Los Siglos [3:29]
09. Aquellos Ojos Verdes [3:05]
10. Sacuma [2:21]
11. Tu Sabes Bien Que Te Queiro [2:37]
Bonus Tracks Featuting Los Cardobeses
12. Besame Mucho [3:30]
13. Los Tintosos [3:02]
14. Poinciana [4:24]
15. El Bodeguero [3:03]
Label: E2 / Music Collection Internatonal Ltd.
Catalogue: ETDCD 099
Compression Level: 6
CD-rip by alekow (EAC and Flac)
Covers Included (600dpi)
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