Grammy-nominated pianist and composer Manuel Valera (Paquito D'Rivera, Arturo Sandoval, Steve Smith) presents the dynamic debut of his New Cuban Express Big Band. Inspired by José Martí -, the famed Cuban writer and independence hero, José Martí - en Nueva York features Valera's song cycle of original music based on nine poems from José Martís seminal 1891 collection, Versos Sencillos. Addressing a range of political and societal issues that are relevant even today, the texts are set for two unique vocalists, Sofia Rei and Camila Meza.
Valera uses the broad palette of the big band to express a wide breadth of moods and emotions, touching on traditional Cuban music styles as well as modern Latin jazz to give José Martí-'s poetry new life. Born out of the crisis of Valera's loss of his wife to cancer last year, the album is a personal cry for freedom, justice, and an expression of passion.
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