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Bele Bele En La Habana
Chucho Valdes
Bele Bele En La Habana
Genres: World Music, Jazz, Pop, Latin Music
  •  Track Listings (8) - Disc #1

His two decades of success as leader, main composer, and arranger of the supercharged Cuban jazz fusion group Irakere have often obscured the talents of Jesus "Chucho" Valdés as a pianist. Now Valdés seems ready, indeed ea...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Chucho Valdes
Title: Bele Bele En La Habana
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Blue Note Records
Original Release Date: 6/30/1998
Release Date: 6/30/1998
Genres: World Music, Jazz, Pop, Latin Music
Styles: Caribbean & Cuba, Cuba, Latin Jazz, Latin Pop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 724382308225, 0724382308256

Synopsis essential recording
His two decades of success as leader, main composer, and arranger of the supercharged Cuban jazz fusion group Irakere have often obscured the talents of Jesus "Chucho" Valdés as a pianist. Now Valdés seems ready, indeed eager, to take his playing center stage. Bele Bele en la Habana, recorded in Toronto early in 1998, features Valdés with a stripped-down quartet playing a program of originals and Cuban standards. It's an impressive show. With sure technique, Valdés seamlessly blends elements of jazz (postbop phrasing and rich harmonies reminiscent of Bill Evans), classical, and Afro-Cuban music. He offers high energy and lyricism ("Son Montuno"), an implacable groove ("Con Poco Coco," "La Sitiera," "But Not for Me"), and even a dash of melodrama now and then (the classic "Tres Lindas Cubanas"). Irakere might have lost their leader, but jazz has gained a superior pianist. --Fernando Gonzalez

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CD Reviews

Fantastic jazz: gets better and better with each listening.
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This album was highly recommended in Time magazine. When I first heard it I was a little disappointed: I expected an astonishing blast which didn't appear at first. Instead, it grows on you: that marvellous phenomenom where an album sounds better (more interesting, more beautiful) the more you listen to it: it is now one of my favourite jazz albums, up there with "Kind of Blue". La sitiera is especially breath-taking."
Intelligent Latin music for intelligent people.
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Chucho Valdes was nominated last year for a Grammy for this CD. He did not win, but should have. This is one of the finest Latin music CDs you will ever hear. Yes, it qualifies as "Latin Jazz", but it is Latin music at its best. No, you will not hear any of the cuts from this CD on your typical urban FM radio stations--the ones which play mostly inane merengues and stupidly formulaic "salsa". Yes, folk, this CD is Latin music for intelligent listeners.All the cuts are instrumental, except for the last one which has a background chorus singing a couple of refrains here and there."
Chucho Valdés Trojan horse has a name: Bele Bele en la Haban
Axel | Vienna | 04/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This music is from another universe. Its message is beyond what music can transmit. It's a diplomatic offer, which acoustically illustrates what music can do because it does not respect political borders. There is hardly any Latin element in the first track and I feel a bit lost hearing and trying to understand these pure jazz interpretations, which are technically first class. There is even no audience applause not a single moan of a lost jazz soul, who could share my solitude, when I start to hear this opus. Step to step as the tracks continue Chucho's Afro-Latin soul expands and I understand that this is an offer to the US and the remaining world of jazz. His arrangement tells me: "We come to you, start with your jazz elements and then go into Cuban Latin jazz. Do the same and come to us. Let's start interaction. !!!" When I reach to hear track number six I must cry because I am mentally in Cuba and I hear a music, which could have been played almost 30 years ago if the political scene would not have interrupted the intellectual and artistic exchange of fine arts between New York, Miami and Havana. But at the end of the preludium of track six (Tres Lindas Cubanas), on the border of suffering a concussion, a flying rumba, which would have probably taken my mind, Chucho tells my with a drumming staccato on his piano: "Hey, we are alive and this is real music and we tell you our story!!! What then comes is acoustical transcendence, it's a drug, which you are addicted instantly (Time from 6 July, 1998 "Don't even try to resist"). The torque of this sound even pulls the fattest dinosaurier out of the tropical mud ! I only can repeat: Do not even try to resist. This is highly contagious stuff and should be kept out of reach of sensible jazz hearts. It's the type of volatile stuff which should be kept well under lock and key and with a big sticker on it saying: Do only hear with your parents !"