2014 MAVO Records
Solo piano recording
- After a string of seven exhilarating, clave-fueled recordings with various ensembles, including his dynamic, Grammy-nominated New Cuban Express from 2012 and its 2013 followup album, Expectativas, acclaimed pianist-composer Manuel Valera decided to take a more introspective route on his eighth album as a leader. His first-ever solo outing, the aptly-titled Self-Portrait reflects the Havana-born musician’s classical background along with his love of jazz and the Cuban boleros that he grew up with. And while he readily admits that the prospect of recording without the support of a burning rhythm section and killer soloists was somewhat daunting, the results are sublime and enchanting.