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Manuel Valera Trio

Featuring: Manuel Valera (p), Ben Street (p), Antonio Sanchez (d), Seamus Blake (s)


Cuban pianist, bandleader, composer and arranger, Manuel Valera is in the forefront of contemporary modern jazz. He represents the next generation of great performers and composers.

His sound is fresh, inviting and evocative, and his goal is to forge innovative sounds that bring a vitality and newness to the idioms of jazz and Latin jazz. He is constantly workshopping musical ideas to develop new composition and arranging techniques that bring together Cuban, Puerto Rican, Brazilian and various jazz styles and forms. His collaboration with Paquito D’Rivera—inspired by the music of Latin American countries—produced a 20-song collection of chamber music entitled The Latin American Suite.

The son of Cuban saxophonist Manuel Valera Senior, he has played with Paquito D'Rivera, Vincent Herring, John Benitez, Donny McCaslin, Claudio Roditi, Louis Hayes, Bobby Sanabria, Giovanni Hildago, Dave Valentin, Nelson Gonzales, Juan Pablo Torres, William Cepeda, Eddie Gomez and Richard Bona.

For his third album, “Historia”, he recorded with bassist Ben Street and drummer Antonio Sanchez. Seamus Blake is featured on two tracks.


01. Oeste (Manuel Valera) 6:29
02. Trio #10 (Manuel Valera) 7:09
03. Adios a Cuba (I.Cervantes) 6:23
04. Abril (Manuel Valera) 6:42
05. Malecón (Manuel Valera) 6:20
06. La Fragua (Manuel Valera) 8:15
07. La Felicidad (Pablo Milanes) 6:51
08. Próximo (Manuel Valera) 7:11
09. Dos Gardenias (Isolina Carrillo) 6:16
10. Amapola (Manuel Valera) 6:42
11. La Historia de las Sillas (Silvio Rodriguez) 4:57

Recorded at Avatar Studios, NYC, September 2004.


"Modern jazz, American style, played by a Cuban pianist with an American rhythm section of Ben Street on bass and Adam Cruz on drums. Seamus Blake on tenor saxophone allows Valera’s harmonic sense to really come out, comping behind the long and twisted lines. Valera’s own playing is strong and modern and insistent, and for a debut recording Historia isn’t just suggestive of good things to come, it’s just good. It’s thoughtful, also, shadowing the best of say, Andrew Hill, if he’d been a touch more like McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock. Highly Recommended.

- Peter Watrous,

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