In a career spanning more than 60 years, both as a solo artist and bandleader, Mr. Valdés has distilled elements of the Afro-Cuban music tradition, jazz, classical music, rock, and more, into a deeply personal style. Winner of seven GRAMMY® and four Latin GRAMMY® Awards, Mr. Valdés, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Science last year and was also inducted in the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame.
His most recent project on record, Jazz Batá 2, revisits a revolutionary idea Mr. Valdés first recorded in 1972: a piano jazz trio featuring batá drums, the sacred, hourglass-shaped drums used in the ritual music of the Yoruba religion in Cuba, in place of the conventional trap set.
Jazz Batá 2 won a Latin Grammy as Best Latin Jazz album and was selected as one of Billboard magazine’s list of The 50 Best Latin Albums of the Decade.
These days he appears energized by his much-awaited reunion with his old friend and bandmate, the extraordinary clarinetist, saxophonist, and composer Paquito D’Rivera. They have rarely played together for the past 40 years, and since their reunion, they have wasted no time in making appearances.