Marks Valdes' fifth GRAMMY in 3 years, following two for El Arte Del Sabor (2002) and one for Lagrimas Negras (2005), featuring Flamenco vocalist Diego El Cigala.
Legendary arranger / composer / bandleader Bebo Valdes has won the GRAMMY Award in the Best Traditional Tropical Latin Album" category for his Calle 54 Records release, Bebo De Cuba, during the 48th Annual GRAMMY Awards held on Wednesday, February 8, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Bebo De Cuba was co-produced by Spanish filmmaker Fernando Trueba, whose stylish 2000 Miramax documentary and live music film Calle 54 brought a wide range of jazz-influenced Latin music styles to the big screen for the first time, and Nat Chediak, Cuban music historian and founder of the Miami Film Festival. The production features Bebo Valdes fronting a full big band on one CD, Suite Cubana and a smaller ensemble on the other, El Solar de Bebo. Both sessions feature a veritable who's who of the Latin jazz world. The companion 23-minute DVD, New York Notebook, complements the music through interviews with Valdes, and video vignettes of the still spry pianist reminiscing while he walks the streets of Manhattan, interacting with the musicians, conducting the groups, and playing piano.
Bebo De Cuba is indeed a celebration - not only of the enduring popularity of a music tradition that has held a global audience in a trance for over half a century but of the endurance and the undiminished creative spirit of one of the idiom's more important practitioners. With the passing in recent years of such contemporaries as Chico" O'Farrill and Mario Bauza, Valdes stands as one of the last of a generation of multi-talented Cuban musicians who played central roles in defining the state of Cuban music today. Bebo De Cuba, a truly singular release in every regard, is the consummate tribute to a master musician whose influence on the music of our time will remain a topic of discussion for decades to come, Bebo Valdes.
Bebo De Cuba also received a 2005 Latin GRAMMY for Best Latin Jazz Album.
Bebo hasn't lived in Cuba for more than 40 years, and even though the 87-year old pianist-arranger vows never to return, on the DVD doc that accompanies this two-disc set, his formidable skills recall his place at the very top of the music scene in pre-Castro Havana."
- K. Leander Williams, Time Out New York
Ramon Bebo" Valdes, who turned 87 on October 9, has been making up for lost time with the verve of a man half his age. More importantly, he's been doing it while bringing to the table the rarest combination of musical knowledge, wisdom, and grace."
- Fernando Gonzalez, Jazziz
On Bebo de Cuba he gives us more: a profound and profoundly enjoyable set of music. It is sophisticated in the best sense of the word, intelligent, gracious, with a vivid and appreciative sense of music's wonders, as graceful and powerful and rhythmically acute as a great dancer."
- Jordan Levin, Miami Herald