Jesús Valdés, 9 October 1941, Quivican, Cuba. A giant of Afro-Cuban jazz piano - it is said that the piano bench at the Teatro Nacional is permanently adjusted to fit him - Valdés is the son of legendary pianist and composer Bebo Valdés. Chucho was playing piano before he had even learned to walk properly, tutored by his piano-playing mother in addition to his father. He later played in several Cuban big bands of the 60s, forming his own jazz quartets inspired by American artists such as Art Tatum and Thelonious Monk. He co-founded the Orquestra De Música Moderna in 1967, but it was as musical director of the groundbreaking Irakere ensemble that Valdés made his biggest impact on Cuban music. The all-star line-ups of this enduring band, which fuses jazz, Cuban ethnic music and rock, have included legendary Cuban musicians such as Paquito DRivera and Arturo Sandoval. In 1978 they became the first modern Cuban group to...