[JPL] Bebo de Cuba: Grammy winner!

Arturo arturo893 at qwest.net
Fri Nov 4 12:37:07 EST 2005

Ramón "Bebo" Valdés the patriach of 3 generations of excellent musicians won
a Grammy for best Latin Jazz album of the year at the Latin Grammy Awards
for his Bebo de Cuba double CD and single DVD album, a masterpiece. The 87
year young Bebo is Cuban by birth and Swedish by friction as he has lived
the past 40 years in Sweden after marrying his beautiful, young, Swedish
wife. Bebo has Swedish children and grandkids and speaks Swedish to them,
yet when speaking Spanish sounds like he's still a resident of Havana. His
son Chucho is the well known founder of Irakere who has gone on to a
brilliant career as a leader of a jazz quartet, his duaghter Mayra Caridad
is a gifted singer and scatter, his Swedish son Rikard plays drums-timbal
and plays with his Dad on Bebo de Cuba as well as on others of Bebo's recent
outings. Bebo's grandkids include Chuchito, another fine pianist and his
granddaughter is a masterful classical music violinist. In the 1980's in
various publications dealing with Latin music there were several articles
written mentioning the "late Bebo Valdés" because he was living in obscurity
in the suburbs of Stockholm, playing cocktail piano in restuarants. In the
early 1990's Paquito D'Rivera was touring through Scandanavia and looked up
Bebo and convinced him to return to the recording studio, Bebo Rides Again
for Messidor,(1995)now re-issued on Pimienta/Universal, was the result and
since then Bebo has had stunning sucess as a recording and performing artist
in various styles of Latin jazz and dance music. When you add this to his
Cuban career spanning nearly 30 years, early 1930's to 1960, Bebo becomes
one of the most important figures of Cuban music's extensive history. Bebo's
band in Cuba accompanied many of the traveling jazz stars in Cuba, Sarah
Vaughn, Nat Cole and others, his orchestra "Sabor De Cuba"(the flavor of
Cuba" was the number one band in the 1950's and backed up Cuban finest
stars, at times with a teenager on piano by the name of Jesús "Chucho"
Valdés at the world famous Tropicana Nightclub.

Thursday night for the Latin Grammy Awards, Bebo teamed up with his lifelong
friend and fellow octogenarian, Israel López-Cachao on bass, Orestes Vilató
on timbal, Arturo Sandoval-trumpet, Ed Calle-tenor sax, recently exiled
Generoso "Tojo" Jiménez-trombone, Danilo Lozano-flute, John Santos-congas,
Lázaro Galaraga-lead vocal, Johnny Pacheco-güiro, 2 back up singers and a
Cuban tres guitar player who were not introduced and I couldn't ID by sight.
Talking about introductions, Andy García who doubled on bongó did a great
job presenting the performance despite not mentioning the coristas and
tresero. It was too bad the folks at the Grammy who make decisons didn't
allow Bebo, Cachao and company to perform more than one selection on a
otherwise unwatchable program.

Bebo de Cuba should be playing on every serious jazz station around the
nation and the globe on mainstream, straight-ahead programming, despite how
conservative the policy may be at any station as there is material among the
2 CDs to fit any format that plays jazz. Now that this is a Grammy winner
this album's attention should be a priority, not playing it would be a
disservice to one's audience.

Arturo Gómez
Music Director, Jazz 89-KUVO
The Oasis In The City
Colorado's First HD FM Radio Station
Celebrating 20 Years of Public Radio

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