Category Archives: CD review

Chucho Valdés stretches musical borders on ‘Border-Free’

The full review ran on July 8 in the Boston Globe.

Chucho Valdés, now 71, is one of pillars of the Cuban jazz-piano tradition. Founder of the seminal Afro-Cuban band Irakere in 1972, he’s made that group’s fusion of multiple genres his mission ever since. On the new “Border-Free,” his mastery as composer and player is on full display: an encyclopedic vocabulary of Afro-Cuban rhythms and an expansive palette that includes all manner of modern jazz as well as traditional classical repertoire….

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Agachiko, ‘Yes!’

The full review ran on June 27 in the Boston Globe.

Local audiences know Gabrielle Agachiko from her charismatic, searing live performances — going back to Boston Rock Opera’s “Jesus Christ Superstar” (the title role!) and rock band the Atom Said, and, more recently, this septet, comprising a handful of ringers from the local jazz scene. It began as a Nina Simone tribute (the heart-stopping “Four Women” is included here), but soon expanded to a variety of blues, jazz, pop, and Agachiko originals. What’s exciting about this project is not just Agachiko’s vocal performances (powered by a clear, powerful instrument, knife-sharp diction, and a touch of warm vibrato), but the fully realized conception….

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