MANUEL VALERA

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Musicreviews Shuffle -

Cur­rents MaxJazz

Cuban-born, US-based pi­anist Valera has a name that res­onates in Ir­ish his­tory but, per­haps be­cause he also works in latin mu­sic, he’s not as well known as a jazz mu­si­cian as he should be. Re­gard­less, Valera is a top-ta­ble tal­ent, as this hugely im­pres­sive trio out­ing with James Genus (acous­tic and elec­tric bass) and the stun­ning Ernesto Simp­son (drums) con­firms. Corea, Jar­rett, Bill Evans and, sur­pris­ingly, Red Gar­land are ac­knowl­edged in­flu­ences, and if the latin touches here sug­gest Corea, Valera is clearly a well-formed mu­si­cal per­son­al­ity him­self. Blessed with great imagination and tech­nique, Valera (who uses key­boards spar­ingly for ex­tra colour) leads his trio through in­tensely fo­cused in­ter­ac­tion on a pro­gramme of orig­i­nals, a su­per out­ing on Monk’s We See and three su­pe­rior stan­dards, in­clud­ing a lyri­cal I Fall in Love Too Eas­ily. The record­ing qual­ity is ex­cep­tional. www.maxjazz.com RAY COMISKEY

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