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Ramon Valle Trio: No Escape

Before the Cuban revolution, U.S. jazz musicians would regularly play the island’s hotels and casinos for the tourists. After hours the Cuban and American musicians would converge on a handful of small clubs for jam sessions. This is where the Cubans could meet and learn from their idols, and U.S. musicians could soak up the local rhythmic lingo.

Ramon Valle is a direct descendant of those after-hours descargas. A graduate of the National School of the Arts in Havana, Valle is equally adept at intensely swinging like Oscar Peterson-but with a groove that reflects the syncopation of the Afro-Cuban clave-playing pop music or reveling in the island’s many traditional rhythms. And like any of the pianists who record for ECM, Valle can draw the curtain down around himself and play powerfully introspective music.

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