Chucho Vald?s: Chucho Vald?s (piano); Carlos Emilio Morales (guitar); Germ n Velazco (flute); Carlos del Puerto (bass instrument); Enrique Pia (drums); George 'El Nino' Alfonso, Oscar Vald?s (congas).
With the exception of one song left off due to lack of space, this single CD reissues the music from two LPs featuring Chucho Vald?s in Cuba. 1972's Jazz Bata, the first five selections, features the great pianist in a rhythm section with bassist Carlos del Puerto and Oscar Valdes on congas. The originals, which are straight-ahead jazz that utilizes Cuban polyrhythms, show off Vald?s' wondrous technique well, and include one song named after Vald?s' famous group "Irakere." While "Laureen" is an emotional out-of-tempo ballad, some of the other songs find the pianist making a great deal out of very little including the lengthy vamp piece "Son No. 2." He never seems to run out of ideas. The final five selections are from 1982 and have Vald?s leading a five-piece rhythm section plus guest German Velasco playing soprano sax or flute on three numbers; Vald?s takes "Son Para Leyanis" as a highly rhythmic piano solo. His "Claudia" is one of his best-known pieces, while the memorable "Zanaith" is on the same level. All in all, this is a superior reissue featuring some of Chucho Vald?s' best piano recordings of the era. ~ Scott Yanow