Keys to good times
On July 16, the World Piano Summit will present an evening of music featuring acclaimed Cuban pianist Chuchito Valdes. The program is part of an ongoing performance series called the Cuban Piano Summit that is making its national debut at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown.
Chuchito Valdes's reputation is as one of the most exciting solo pianists performing today. Born in Havana, he comes from a long tradition of distinguished musicians including his father, Chucho Valdes, who is considered to be among the greatest Cuban pianists.
While Mr. Valdes inherited both his father's name and a daunting legacy in Cuban music, he has forged his own dynamic style. Classically trained in harmony and composition, many of his original compositions and arrangements draw on classical harmonic and structural techniques. At the same time, Mr. Valdes's exposure to different musical styles has resulted in a unique and avant-garde form that displays all the intensity and flamboyant technique that typifies Cuban jazz, blending them with styles from Afro-Cuban Latin jazz to bebop.
"Chuchito Valdes is like Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Louis, and Vladamir Horowitz all rolled into one," says Jim Luce, the summit's promoter and organizer. "He'll knock your socks off."
Mr. Valdes has performed at festivals, clubs, and concerts throughout the world. Some of his credits include performances at the prestigious Cara Moore Jazz Festival, the Union County Performing Arts Center, the Chicago Jazz Festival, and the San Jose Jazz Festival.
Developed from the European practice of home concerts, The World Piano Summit focuses on the piano as it presents world caliber pianists from jazz, classical, Brazilian, and Latin music to communities across the country. The concerts pair dynamic performers with intimate performance spaces, creating a unique relationship between the performers and their audiences.
The Old Whaling Church in Edgartown is a unique location for the Cuban Piano Summit performance. Built in 1843 by whaling captains, the Old Whaling Church is steeped in history and tradition. Its acoustically rich sanctuary offers a unique ambiance that organizers believe will enhance the performance.
However, concert venue alone is not sufficient. The relationship between the musician and the audience becomes symbiotic: performers are fueled by the energy of their audience, and Cuban music is wonderfully inclusive and energetic.