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.