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Cuban Jazz Pianist Manuel Valera featuring Seamus Blake, Ben Street & Antonio Sanchez at Sweet Rhythm NYC Monday May 17

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Cuban jazz pianist Manuel Valera in quartet at Sweet Rhythm, Monday May 17 with his latest project Melancolia featuring saxophonist SEAMUS BLAKE, bassist BEN STREET and drummer ANTONIO SANCHEZ. Sets at 8pm & 10pm. Free to New School University students with ID. MORE ON VALERA 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. Born and raised in Havana, Manuel has made New York City his home for the last three years. A leader at 23 years old and within six months, Manuel already has two major recordings under his belt. His debut modern jazz cd Forma Nueva is a collection of contemporary originals and one standard featuring JOHN PATITUCCI, HORACIO “EL NEGRO" HERNANDEZ, BILL STEWART and SEAMUS BLAKE. His second cd, Melancola, incorporates world rhythms and classical concepts in the jazz idiom, featuring ANTONIO SANCHEZ, BEN STREET, SEAMUS BLAKE, LUISITO QUINTERO and a string quartet.

His collaboration with Paquito DRiverainspired by the music of Latin American countriesproduced a 20-song collection of chamber music entitled The Latin American Suite. Additionally, Manuels Ballads and Songs: Vol. I" is a collection of standards and originals in solo piano format.

The son of Cuban saxophonist Manuel Valera Senior, he has played with Paquito D' Rivera, John Benitez, Donny McCaslin, Claudio Roditi, Bobby Sanabria, Giovanni Hildago, Dave Valentin, Nelson Gonzales, Juan Pablo Torres, William Cepeda, Eddie Gomez and the Machito Orchestra. Manuel has performed and recorded with salsa singer George Lamond and has studied with Reggie Workman, George Garzone, Jane Ira Bloom, Gerard D'Angelo and Richie Bierach among others. He has performed as sideman at various clubs around New York City, including the Blue Note, Birdland, the 55 Bar, Sweet Rhythm and Smoke. Manuel graduated from Havana's Conservatory Manuel Saumell and from the New School University in New York City with a performance degree. Manuel has just won second place in the 2004 Great American Jazz Competition.

WHAT THEYRE SAYING: It may be rare to hear a 23-year-old with the exploratory interests and tender touch of Valera, but it's an unalloyed pleasure to discover a young man so accomplished that his potential seems boundless. --HOWARD MANDEL, President of Jazz Journalists Association, Writer for Down Beat & Jazz Times Manuel Valera is a flourishing young pianist-composer whose talent and creative drive is destined to make a unique mark in the bloodlines of the Afro-Cuban Jazz tradition, including the likes of Chucho Valdez and Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Anyone who shares the bandstand with him will take note that they are working with a master in the making. --RICHARD BOUKAS, Malandro Recording Artist, New School Jazz Program Faculty, Director of Brazilian Jazz Ensemble and Brazilian Music Chair/IAJE Resource Team Manuel will emerge as an outstanding professional in his field. As a performer, as well as composer, he has become an artist who is the first call when maturity high level artistry and professional qualities are needed. The future artist's community will be fortunate to have Manuel as a member. --REGGIE WORKMAN, Bassist for John Coltrane and Art Blakey, New School Faculty

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