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Manuel Valera and New Cuban Express at the Jazz Standard on Nov 6th



On Wednesday, November 6th, 2013, at 7:30PM and 9:30PM, Cuban Pianist, Composer and Bandleader Manuel Valera and his New Cuban Express are celebrating the CD Release Party for their new album “Expectativas”. The concert will take place at the Jazz Standard in New York City. If you are in the area make sure you don’t miss it.

New Cuban Express are: Manuel Valera – piano; Yosvany Terry – saxophone; Tom Guarna – guitar; John Benitez – bass; Ludwig Afonso – drums; Mauricio Herrera – percussion.

Since arriving in New York from his native Havana, Manuel Valera has gone from strength to strength as a sideman, composer, bandleader, and recording artist. On stage and in the studio, he’s lent his prodigious talents to such notable artists such as Arturo Sandoval, Paquito D’Rivera, Brian Lynch, Dafnis Prieto, and Jeff “Tain” Watts, among many others. Valera has been awarded several grants for composition, including Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works and the ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award. He’s trav­eled the world to perform in over 30 countries at some of the biggest international venues and festivals. But the project closest to Valera’s heart is his own outstanding band – and this Jazz Standard one–nighter celebrates the release of Expectativas, his seventh CD as a leader and the successor to his 2012 release New Cuban Express, nominated for Best Latin Jazz Album in the 2013 GRAMMY Awards.

Music charge: $20. To purchase, contact Jazz Standard at 212.576.2232 or visit

Where: Jazz Standard, 116 East 27th Street, NYC

When: Wednesday, November 6th at 7:30PM and 9:30PM

Manuel Valera & New Cuban Express - ExpectativasManuel Valera & New Cuban Express – Expectativas – Album Notes

Manuel Valera | Piano, Fender Rhodes, Synthesizers
Yosvany Terry | Alto and Soprano Saxophone, Chekere (except 8)
Tom Guarna | Electric and Acoustic Guitar
John Benitez | Bass
Ludwig Afonso | Drums
Paulo Stagnaro | Percussion on 2-10 and 12
Mauricio Herrera | Batás on 6 and Percussion on 1 and 11

Special Guest: Manuel Valera (Sr) | Alto Saxophone on 8
Produced by Manuel Valera for Mavo Records

About the Music on Expectativas:

The music on this recording represents my continued growth as a composer, pianist and bandleader. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work regularly with the NCX and I feel a deep connection with all the members of the band. Here’s a brief synopsis of each track.

“Chamber Timba” is a composition that infuses the high energy of timba music with the subtleties of Jazz. This is a concept that we have been working on as a band. “Expectativas” is a tune that has been part of the band’s repertoire and I’ve always felt a sense of hope and innocence from this composition. “Perception” is a gentle cha cha chá that goes thru some rhythmic changes. In the middle it goes to a danzón and at the ends it becomes a makuta with a timba flavor. “Chennai Express” is a tune dedicated to all my friends at S.A.M. (Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music) in southern India where I had the pleasure of teaching at the beginning of 2013 for 7 weeks. This tune is in 11/4.

I composed “Isabelita” when my daughter Isabel was born in 2008. She inspires everything I do. “Jben Timbus” is a feature for one of my favorite bass players anywhere: John Benitez. I’m so lucky he also happens to be part of the NCX! “La Gloria Eres Tu” is an amazing bolero by the great Cuban singer-songwriter Jose Antonio Mendez. This track is really exciting for me because my father, Manuel Valera (the saxophonist), is performing with us on this one. He has one of the most beautiful alto sounds out there and I’m really excited that we finally got a chance to record something together with the NCX.

“En Cinco” is a really old tune of mine. I actually recorded a different arrangement of this song on my debut CD Forma Nueva with El Negro Hernandez and John Patitucci. It has stayed in my repertoire thru the years and I’ve performed it in all sorts of formats—from solo piano to big band. On this track the band really opens up! “Open Window” is a song that gives you a sense of all the possibilities and different paths that one could take at any point life. “Descarga” is a tune based on the rhythmic motif from “Sandunga Mandinga Mondongo” by the great Cuban pianist Frank Emilio Flynn. “Las Americas” is a ballad that I dedicate to the entire American continent and to all our friends from the Western hemisphere.

– Manuel Valera

Manuel Valera at Jazz Standard 2

New Releases

Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band to release new recording: “Vox Humana”



Drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, bandleader, educator, Bobby Sanabria
Drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, bandleader, educator, Bobby Sanabria

Celebrating 25 years! The multi-Grammy nominated Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band is set to release their new recording: “Vox Humana” featuring vocalists Janis Siegel, Antoinette Montague, Jennifer Jade Ledesna.

Recorded Live at Dizzy’s Club Cola in NYC
Release Date: Spring 2023
Record Label: Jazzheads

New York – January 18th – On the heels of their Grammy nominated and 2019 Jazz Journalists Association Album of the Year Award winning critically acclaimed masterwork, West Side Story Reimagined, and in celebration of their 25th anniversary – drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, bandleader, educator, Bobby Sanabria and his Multiverse Big Band return with their most ambitious work to date, VOX HUMANA.

Bobby states, “Over the course of our many Grammy nominated albums we’ve occasionally featured tracks with vocals. But I’ve always envisioned doing an entire vocal album framed by the Multiverse Big Band. Now with three of today’s greatest contemporary singing talents – multi-Grammy award winner Janis Siegel from the Manhattan Transfer, blues and jazz Queen Antoinette Montague, and the multilingual powerhouse, Jennifer Jade Ledesna, today that vision has finally become a reality.

The individually distinct voices that Janis, Antoinette, and Jennifer possess make them each unique. But the X factor they all have is they are all masterful improvisors in the best sense of the jazz tradition. Added to the mix is our great conguero, Oreste Abrantes, who also sings lead on two tracks. Having that multi- dimensional vocal talent framed by the power, nuance, and tonal variety that only a big band can provide, combined with the repertoire I’ve chosen to showcase them and the band and the incredible variety of Afro- Latin, straight ahead swing, funk, R&B, and rock rhythmic vocabulary that we are masters of and readily have at our disposal in the Multiverse, I believe VOX HUMANA will prove to be our greatest achievement. 

Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band: "Vox Humana"
Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band: “Vox Humana”

That repertoire has a personal meaning to me as I see VOX HUMANA as a biographical work. I’m a product of my environment. I’m a Nuyorican, a person of Puerto Rican descent growing up in New York City. In my case the South Bronx during a time period when pop, jazz, R&B, rock, funk, and Latin music of all kinds all co-existed as equals. It was the last era when the big bands of masters like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Machito, Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, Don Ellis, and more were in the public eye, and they became my heroes. Vocalists who could deliver a message with subtlety, nuance, and when needed, power, were called upon to deliver poetry crafted by genius song writers. You’ll hear all that and more through the soaring vocals and improv talents of Janis, Antoinette, and Jennifer, along with Oreste, as well as the incredible jazz-oriented arrangements and exciting Pan Afro-Latin rhythms played by a big band that literally takes no prisoners when it hits the stage.”

The repertoire Bobby speaks of includes 1 original and 12 unique re-workings of pop hits like Spooky, Christine Aguilera’s Genie In a Bottle, and Steely Dan’s Do It Again; NEA Jazz Master Eddie Palmieri’s, Mi Congo and Puerto Rico along with the island’s greatest composer, Rafael Hernandez’s, Capullito De Aleli; the classic Joe Cuba R&B bolero, To Be With You; Brazilian standards Partido Alto and Amazonas; and from the world of Broadway theater, I Love You Porgy, and the iconic jump blues, Let The Good Times Roll. The CD also includes an original message bearing piece, Who Taught You That, as well as what may possibly be the most exciting interpretation of the Ellington associated classic, Caravan, and that has ever been recorded. 

Adding to the excitement of the performance, VOX HUMANA was recorded in front of a live audience. Bobby states, “As with our previous work, we recorded VOX HUMANA live at NYC’s Dizzy’s Club Coca – Cola. My musicians represent NYC’s finest. That means they’re the greatest in the world. The added level of excitement created by the audience inspired us in the MULTIVERSE Big Band to a heightened new level of performance virtuosity that listeners will hear explode out of the speakers just as the audience at Dizzy’s experienced in person.”

The history of the Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band is indeed one based on his rich multi-cultural heritage as a Nuyorican growing up in New York City’s South Bronx. His concept of having a big band that has no genre boundaries with limitless possibilities was forged 25 years ago back in 1998. It has yielded a series of groundbreaking, critically acclaimed albums that have all been Grammy-nominated with the band thrilling audiences worldwide at venues like the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, The Ravinia Festival, Verona Jazz Festival in Europe, and more.

Content Source: Two for the Show Media

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