Manuel Valera Trio Performing Spiral

by chipboaz on May 8, 2017

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Finding new ways to create within the realm of Latin Jazz is an interesting proposition, but one that is a natural evolution of the music. The music has a number of very defined structures – everything from rhythmic patterns with centuries of tradition behind them to harmonic forms that have become strict over the years. Structures were meant to be broken, so there’s not a problem with doing something different; still, many of those forms have come to define the genre. When you change elements of the music, you’re running the risk of letting the floor of tradition fall beneath you. When musicians evolve the music up from that floor of tradition, then they can push the boundaries. The further they stretch the outer edges of the music, the larger the floor becomes, moving the music into a new era.

Pianist Manuel Valera has long been stretching the boundaries of Latin Jazz, trying a variety of new approaches with a heavy dose of musicality. Coming from a background that includes schooling both in schools and on the stage, Valera has established a solid foundation in the Latin Jazz tradition. Along the way, he’s tried lots of new things, ranging from solo piano on Self Portrait to his New Cuban Express group, and his Groove Square Project on Urban Landscape. His latest album, The Seasons, explores long form multi-movement works within Latin Jazz. While the album contains a number of stand along songs, the centerpiece is a highly composed work entitled “The Seasons” with four movements – one for each season. It’s a beautiful statement that lasts more than twenty minutes, painting a beautiful pictures using the aesthetics of Latin Jazz. It’s inspiring to have skilled musicians like Valera, pushing the boundaries of the music while respecting the tradition – check out this video of his trio performing one of his compositions “Spiral.”

Do you have a Latin Jazz video to share? E-mail a link to latinjazzcorner@gmail.com

Check out recent Latin Jazz videos:
Ray Mantilla With The Tito Puente Band Performing Mambo Diablo
Finding The Swing In Flamenco Jazz: Alex Conde Performing Zyriab
Championing The Flute In Latin Jazz: Andrea Brachfeld Playing Live
Celebrating International Jazz Day 2017 In Havana, Cuba
A Bold Vision: Celebrating Mario Bauza

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