New Cuban Express—which marks Valera’s sixth record as a leader and a new direction in his playing and writing—consists of eleven Valera originals and two covers, focusing on material derived from the Afro-Cuban tradition.
Manuel Valera and New Cuban Express
Expectativas—the follow up to Manuel Valera’s 2013 Grammy nominated New Cuban Express
marks Valera’s seventh record as a leader with his group and represents his continued growth as a composer, pianist and bandleader. This recording takes the songwriting even deeper with extensive time shifting, liberal use of odd meters, genuine Timbajazz and consists of eleven Valera originals and one cover, focusing on material derived from the Afro-Cuban tradition.
Self Portrait (2014)
Manuel Valera Solo Piano
First solo piano outling reflects his love of classical, jazz and boleros. After a string of seven exhilarating, clave-fueled recordings with variousensembles, including his dynamic, Grammy-nominated New CubanExpress from 2012 and its 2013 followup album, Expectativas, acclaimed pianist-composer Manuel Valera decided to take a more introspectiveroute on his eighth album as a leader. His first-ever solo outing, theaptly-titled Self-Portrait reflects the Havana-born musician’s classicalbackground along with his love of jazz and the Cuban boleros that hegrew up with. And while he readily admits that the prospect of recordingwithout the support of a burning rhythm section and killer soloists wassomewhat daunting, the results are sublime and enchanting.