top of page



Press on Valera


"He leaves no doubt that he’s destined to play a role in the future of jazz. Valera shows a keen jazz vocabulary, a gift for creating grooves that invite stellar solo flights from his collaborators and the nerve to romance a melody when it suits him."
--Philip van Vleck, Billboard

"The blending of Latin music with jazz harmony and improvisation has produced more than a mere hybrid, as a survey of New York's younger players would reveal. Manuel Valera, a Cuban pianist in his mid-20's, illustrates that evolution handily: postbop and classical romanticism are as integral to his vocabulary as Latin folk forms, and they all find natural expression in his music."
--Nate Chinen, New York Times

"Valera’s sophisticated compositions, and his deft, light touch with strings, stimulate consistently intriguing solos. Blake, especially on soprano, is a voice both affectingly plaintive and articulate. Valera makes one powerful piano statement after another, his speed and complexity and chiming touch always building a story."
--Thomas Conrad, Jazztimes

"Here’s a Cuban pianist who lives up to all the buzz about the rad chops flaunted by many of New York’s young Caribbean jazzers."
--Jim Macnie, Village Voice

"It may be rare to hear a 23-year-old with the exploratory interests and tender touch of Valera, but it's an unalloyed pleasure to discover a young man so accomplished that his potential seems boundless. Pianist-composer Manuel Valera is, indeed, prime mover of this Forma Nueva."
--Howard Mandel, President, Jazz Journalists Association, Writer for Down Beat and Jazz Times

"His Forma Nueva heralds the arrival of an important Latin jazz pianist."
--Nat Chediak, Jazziz

"He is endowed with a profound talent and rich progressive jazz-latin ideas… and offers the portrait of an exceptional young artist emerging as a leader."
--Jesse Varela, LatinBeat

"He is a deeply thematic player, often building longer lines from small motifs. But as much as Forma Nueva is a vehicle for his playing, it is also a showcase for his fine writing. Valera’s personal incorporation of Cuban and other ethnic Latin styles into a contemporary post bop context assures him a distinguished place."
--John Kelman, All About Jazz

"This cd serves proof that Manuel Valera is a brilliant and potential great pianist."
--Allmusic, By Scott Yanow

"Manuel Valera will be one to watch, as his initial recording as a leader was one of the most welcome arrivals on the jazz scene of 2004."
--Ken Dryden, The Pulse

"This is arguably the disc to prick up the ears of any discerning jazz piano fan."
--John Stevenson, Ejazznews

"An accomplished debut that makes you want to hear more."
--Peter Watrous,

"Valera brings considerable talent to the table as shown on this first offering."
--Jay Collins, One Final Note

For complete reviews go to News & Reviews


bottom of page