Cuban Pianists Chucho Valdes, Rubalcaba Captivate U.S. Public

Numerous ovations shook last night the Concert Hall of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC, where both figures showed a contagious chemistry and great enjoyment on stage that immediately moved the audience.

The show was part of the DC Jazz Festival, an event that from June 8 to 17 provides more than 125 performances by great exponents of the genre in 40 places in the city.

‘As the title suggests, Trance is a collaboration that speaks of a deep connection with the spiritual forces that flow through the many languages of music,’ the cultural institution said on Friday’s proposal.

Precisely, connection was what the audience could feel for almost an hour and a half of concert, a tour of several composers and periods in which both musicians accelerated hearts with the agility of their fingers and the power of their interpretation.

To this was added that the DC Jazz Festival honored Valdes with the Lifetime Achievement Award, given to whoever ‘serves as a representative model of jazz’ and has dedicated its existence to the genre.

It has been a very beautiful experience, the organization of the festival has been very good and the audience’s reaction was incredible, as soon as we went on stage they stood up, we are very happy and proud, the award-winner told Prensa Latina at the conclusion of the presentation.

The famous musician, considered the most important figure of Afro-Cuban jazz, highlighted the significance of the award he received in this capital after six decades of artistic life because he recalled that he began playing professionally at age 16.

Valdes, who was the leader, principal composer and arranger of the innovative band Irakere, maintained that this type of recognition comforts and encourages us to continue trying to do our best.

In this sense, the artist, who at 76 seems tireless, announced that his next concert will be at the Gran Teatro de La Habana, Alicia Alonso, on June 21 next to the talented Italian pianist Stefano Bollani.

For his part, Rubalcaba stressed that the spectators were extremely warm and became ‘a stimulating key from the first to the last note.’

On the project Trance, he remarked the way they both enjoy and understand their executions.

Yes, there is a generational difference, but also common stories and memories in the musical field, in humor, in the customs, names, records, family, friends, places, smells, and that enriches the music on stage, he said.

About the return to the scene after finishing the concert with strong cheers, he said that it is mostly a gesture of appreciation to the public. ‘You can feel a little physical fatigue, but you have that need to give people a little more of you.’

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