Forma Nueva

Cuban-born pianist/composer Manuel Valera has been paying his jazz dues for some time now, having toured with, among others, Paquito D'Rivera, Claudio Roditi, Steve Turre, John Benitez and Dave Valent

Cuban-born pianist/composer Manuel Valera has been paying his jazz dues for some time now, having toured with, among others, Paquito D'Rivera, Claudio Roditi, Steve Turre, John Benitez and Dave Valentin. He has also appeared as the solo guest artist for the Wayne Shorter Trio. With "Forma Nueva," Valera assumes the role of leader. He authored or arranged the 12 songs on the album, asserting his keyboard and compositional virtuosity. In the process he leaves no doubt that he's destined to play a role in the future of jazz. Abetted by John Patitucci (bass), Bill Stewart (drums), Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez (drums) and Seamus Blake (saxophone), Valera shows a keen jazz vocabulary, a gift for creating grooves that invite stellar solo flights from his collaborators and the nerve to romance a melody when it suits him. Begin your exploration of this choice album with the title track, "Metaphorically Speaking," "Say It (Over and Over Again)" and "Displaced." Racked by Synergy.—PVV