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Jazz Caliente: Chucho Valdés to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

Chucho Valdés poses in the press room with the award for best latin jazz album for "Tribute to Irakere: Live in Marciac" at the 59th annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017, in Los Angeles.
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Chucho Valdés poses in the press room with the award for best latin jazz album for "Tribute to Irakere: Live in Marciac" at the 59th annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017, in Los Angeles. "

Chucho Valdés, the pianist/composer/bandleader often referred to as "The Duke Ellington of Cuba," will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Latin Grammys in a private ceremony on Tuesday November 13.

Valdés may find it difficult to make room on his award shelf for this latest honor; to date, he's garnered 6 Grammy Awards and 3 Latin Grammys.

Chucho's first musical instructor was his father, the revered Bebo Valdés, who led one of the finest modern Cuban orchestras, Sabor de Cuba. 

The younger Valdés was a prodigy, going to the piano to play whatever melodies he heard on the radio at age 3.  He graduated from conservatory at 14, and formed his own jazz trio a year later.  Now, at 77, he's the elder statesman of Cuban jazz. 

Best known for founding the Afro Cuban-jazz-rock ensemble Irakere, Chucho is a master of mixing musical genres and yet retaining his distinctive sound, in both his playing and his compositions.  

On Saturday Jazz Caliente this week we'll hear a selection from Chucho's upcoming album, Jazz Batá 2, with guest Regina Carter on violin.

Jazz Caliente airs Saturdays at 5:00 p.m.  The show is hosted by Robin Lloyd and produced by KNKX Public Radio.

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