Chucho Valdés – Chucho’s Steps

Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés pays homage to jazz legends on his latest release Chucho’s Steps. The title track, which built on a strong Latin percussive rhythm, is a reference to John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps.” The rollicking “Zawinul’s Mambo” is a nod to Dizzy Gillespie and Zawinul. The Dixieland-flavor on “New Orleans” is a tribute to the Marsalis family. The soulful blues “Julián” pays respect to Cannonball Adderley. The real treat though is the Cuban-jazz “Danzón.” The ballad starts off with Carlos Miyares Hernández’s sentimental saxophone solo, but the tempo kicks up a notch when Mr. Valdés enters with sweeping, fleeting solo. His compelling improvisations show that the 69-year-old man still have great chops and his playing attests that age ain’t nothing but a number.