Winner of eight Grammy Awards: five Grammy Awards and three Latin Grammy and creditor of many doctorates, Dionisio Jesus "Chucho" Valdés Rodríguez is natural from Quivican, Havana Province, Cuba.
Born in 1941, pianist, composer, professor of music, musical arranger and director of his own groups began his musical training in his former years, at home, under his father influence of his father "the great Bebo Valdés" and his mother, Pilar Rodriguez, teacher of piano and singer. At the age of three, he already played at the piano the melodies he listened at he radio, by ear with both hands at any tone.
The positive musical environment of his family allowed him to enter int the knowledge fluently in several styles and genres of music.
With five years, he received piano lessons, theory and solfa with the Professor Oscar Muñoz Boufartique, studies that were finished at the Municipal Music Conservatory of Havana at the age of fourteen. He improved his knowledge with private lessons with Zenaida Romeu, Rosario Franco, Frederick Smith and composition with Leo Brouwer.
Teaching and other
Regularly teaches as professor at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana and also in universities around the world.
In 2006 he was declared a Goodwill Ambassador to the FAO in ceremony at the Vatican, Rome. Since then, gives concerts in Havana every October, the World Food Day. "Haiti will return" is the theme song he composed and whose rights ceded to FAO to raise funds for victims of the hurricane that devastated the Caribbean country.
At fifteen he formed his first jazz trio with Emilio del Monte and Luis Rodriguez. In December 1958 he worked as a pianist in the Deauville Hotel and St. John of Havana. In 1959, made his debut with the orchestra "Sabor de Cuba" orchestra directed by his father where he accompanied with many important singers of that time like Rolando Laserie, Fernando Alvarez and Pio Leyva.
In this last year by Leo Brouwer recommendation, he simultaneously created his combo that in 1965 added a singer named Amado Borcelá, better known as "Guapachá", work that opened a new way in the cuban popular music: It was Irakere´s preamble where many of its founders accompany him. In 1967 he incursed in the Cuban Modern Music Orchestra under the direction of Armando Romeu and Rafael Somavilla, so matured in Chucho his knowledge consolidated as the group leader. Inside it appeared the Combo idea with a quintet format, and in 1970 he made his debut with it at Jamboree International Jazz Festival in Poland, becoming the first Cuban group that participated in a festival abroad of that genre, where is congratulated by Dave Brubeck and it located Chucho for the first time, among the better five world piano players, together with Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea.
In 1972, after recording the LP "Jazz Bata" with Carlos del Puerto and Oscar Valdés, Chucho decided to enlarged the format adding brass session and drums, then he founded in 1973 "Irakere", considered the most important group in the Cuban music history in the second half of the XX century, an explosive mixture of jazz, rock, classical and traditional Cuban music, a sound that had never been heard before that revolutionized the Latin music.With Irakere, he developed a created work that joined the musical Cuban roots with the most contemporary expressive ways, with masterpieces of great transcendence as "Misa Negra" and "Shaka Zulu", both for Symphony Orchestra and Irakere.
In 1998 he began to work with a quartet format and the vocalist Mayra Caridad Valdés, with emphasis of the piano as soloist and leader voice of itself up today.
New musical experimentation led him to conceive at the end of 2009 "Chucho Valdés and the Afro-Cuban Messengers" format with the recorded the award winning album "Chucho's Steps" with his Comanche label and wich performer successful world tour between 2010 and early 2012.
At the end of 2012, Chucho surprises us with his new quintet, a perfect musical combination, mixing the irreplaceable Yaroldy Abreu (percussion) and Dreisser Durruthy Bombalé (batá and vocals), along with the younger generation of Cuban jazz that propose an incredibly innovative comtemporary dynamics: Gastón Joya (bass) and Rodney Barreto (drums). With this format recording at the end of his latest álbum "Border-free", with his own label "Comanche" and in turn inaugurates the 28th Jazz Plaza Festival International, wich was the premiere in Cuba of the disk format and a resounding success with the critics and audiences.
Until 2010, Chucho Valdés has chaired the Organization Committee of the International Jazz Plaza in Cuba.
He usually teaches as Titular Professor at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana and also at Universities all over the world.
Toured every continent and most famous performances in world scenarios, supporting the recognition of his extraordinary interpretative work, considered by critics as one of the best pianists in the world.
The Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Hollywood Bowl, Blue Note NY, Village Vanguard, the Colón Theatre in Buenos Aires, among others, and sharing with exceptional musicians the likes of Herbie Hancock for two pianos, Billy Taylor, Kenny Barron , Michel Legrand, Frank Emilio, Michel Camilo, Chano Dominguez, Marian Marpartlan, Mulgrew Miller, John Lewis, Chick Corea, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Branford and Wynton Marsalis, Carlos Santana, Joe Lovano, Grover Washington Jr., Dizzy Gillespie, Hugh Fraser, David Sanchez, George Benson, Taj Mahal, Max Roach, Jack Dejonnette, Ron Carter, Idris Muhammad, Eddie Gomez, Gato Barbieri, Giovanni Hidalgo, Tito Puente and the Lincoln Center orchestras Big Band, Village Vanguard Orchestra, John Clayton Big Band and the Machito Orchestra, among others.
Scenarios in London, Paris, Turkey, Portugal, Greece and Lebanon, with Michel Legrand have hosted their performances.
In Spain, among other presentations has issued promotionally with Pablo Milanes, introducing the CD "Beyond All" and also appeared with his father Bebo the famous CD "Together Forever", in nine concerts.
In 2009 Chucho appeared before 12,000 people at the concert of the Cathedral Plaza in Panama City and in the most prestigious in Canadá, Europe, Asia and Australia.
In the recently concluded 2012 acted in Costa Rica, Canada, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Spain, Japan, and Panama, along with Cuban singer Omara Portuondo.
During January-February made, with Afro-Cuban Messengers twenty-two concerts in thirty days, from coast to coast U.S. that included his return to the stage at the famous Carnegie Hall in New York, after thirty-four years of absence, (with Spanish singer Concha Buika), promoting the CD of both "The last drink" and his own album "Chucho's Steps"; also offered concerts, clinics and lectures at universities.
Later this year, another intense tour of presentations was occupied by more than twenty-four U.S. cities, including a return to Carnegie Hall New Yorker, in his third performance at full capacity sold. In the so-called "Temple of Jazz" Festival hosted a Cuban or evening when it presented, along with his quintet, two of the best young talents Cuban Aldito López Gavilán, Dayramir Gonzalez and as one of the champions of the clusters rumba tradition in Cuba, Yoruba Andabo. Then came a very special presentation with three great pianists Latinos: the Brazilian Egberto Gismonti, Panamanian Danilo Perez and Cuban Gonzalo Rubalcaba, in a historic concert pianos unprecedented four considered by the New York Times as one of the best concerts of 2012 in the United States. The year ahead for Chucho Valdes imposes the challenge of new and multiple international presentations around the world, including a first for a Cuban in New Zealand, and among other countries: Russia, Japan, Indonesia, Spain, Bulgaria, Finland, Germany , England, France, Italy, Australia, Canada, USA, Portugal, Switzerland.
Demonstrated by sustained virtuosity on the instrument has been the recipient of numerous awards as a soloist in various international festivals. Among other honors and awards, has also received
- Illustrious Son Quivicán, Cuba
- HONORARY DOCTORATE at VICTORIA UNIVERSITY in CANADA 1997.
- Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Victoria in Canada, 1997. - "Felix Varela Order" first degree for his relevant artistic merits, issued by the State Council of the Republic of Cuba, 1998 - Honorary Doctor of Arts in 2000 and - Educational Merit Award in 2001, both from the Institute Superior de Arte of Havane, ISA. - National Music Award (shared with Leo Brouwer) in first edition, 2000. - Was registered in the Hall of Fame in Los Angeles Latin Jazz in ceremony with Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri and Lalo Shiffrin, 2000. - Music Prize of Spain in 2009 by category Jazz CD "Together Forever", recorded with his father Bebo Valdés under seal 54th Street. - Honorary Doctorate from Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA, with his father Bebo Valdes in May 2011. - In June 2011 he was appointed Honorary Visiting Buenos Aires, Argentina.
- Malaga Provincial Council appointed him Honorary Citizen of the Province, 2012
- Recognition Gitana Tropical, Provincial Department of Culture of the Havana, 2012.
Winner of EIGHT GRAMMY AWARDS, FIVE Grammy Awards and THREE Latin Grammy Awards
For his virtuosity hold in the instrument he has been creditor of many Awards as Soloist in different international festivals.
Fragment of critical newspaper Granma, Saturday 22 December 2012. "No limits" Pedro de la Hoz
"Chucho Valdés has no limits. When someone thinks he has everything, man appears more and better inventions. Virtuoso is a term that is narrow because it does not fit the fireworks or the parade narcissistic to dazzle. Dumps in their creations all worlds has come and, more importantly, anticipates the roads lie ahead ... Before, during and after, Chucho is your island. With the same fervor with which the monks singing Gregorian chants in the abbeys Renaissance, he displays the ritual of the Orishas in a liturgy that charges in Yansa Dionysian dimensions or proportions telluric on roads. But he also has the wisdom and sensitivity to design a suite elegiac as Pilar, before which Stravinsky imagine his hat, or make navigating a theme of Scheherazade, Rimsky-Korsakov, in a bateau on to beat Mississippi blues ... Chucho limits are within himself and convinced that I have not yet encountered the ".