Valera is a native of Cuba and the son of saxophonist Manuel Valera, who has played with Paquito D'Rivera, Chucho Valdes, Gonzalo Rubacalba and Tito Puente. The younger Valera has performed and recorded with well-known musicians in both jazz and Latin music, including D'Rivera, Vincent Herring, Donny McCaslin, Claudio Roditi, Louis Hayes, Bobby Sanabria, Dave Valentin, and many others. Though he has not (as far as I know) played in St. Louis yet as a bandleader, he is one of two keyboardists in the band Waverly Seven, who performers here in November 2007 at Jazz at the Bistro.
Valera's MAXJAZZ debut Currents will be released on Tuesday, October 6. It features Valera performing a mix of standards and original compositions with James Genus on bass and Ernesto Simpson on drums. You can see and hear a sample of Valera's playing in the embedded video window at the end of this post.
Jeb Patton is the pianist for the Heath Brothers Quartet, who played at Jazz at the Bistro in March 2008. Patton also works regularly with singer Sachal Vasandani, and in the past has played with Etta Jones, the Faddis/Hampton/Heath Sextet, Winard Harper, Antonio Hart, Rufus Reid, Jimmy Cobb, Carl Allen, Jackie McLean, Frank Wess, James Moody, Terell Stafford, Sean Jones, and many others.
His CD New Strides, also a debut for MAXJAZZ, will be released Tuesday, November 7. It features Patton, bassis David Wong and drummer Pete VanNostrand in a program of originals and new interpretations of standards, aided by special guests including saxophonist Jimmy Heath and drummer Albert Tootie" Heath.