Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Arturo O’Farrill & Chucho Valdés: For Love of Family

Two pianists and bandleaders strive to tear down the walls dividing  genres, generations & politics

Arturo O'Farrill & Chucho Valdes (photo by Luis Olazabal)
Arturo O’Farrill & Chucho Valdes (photo by Luis Olazabal)

Practically speaking, Familia: Tribute to Bebo & Chico (Motéma), the new double album by the renowned pianists, composers and bandleaders Arturo O’Farrill and Chucho Valdés, first came under serious consideration in 2014. But in theory, its roots go back more than a lifetime.

The 76-year-old Valdés’ father was Bebo Valdés (1918-2013), the pioneering Cuban pianist and composer. His son is likewise a towering presence, figuratively and literally, appearing a generation younger than his age and standing a full head above O’Farrill, who’s nearly 6 feet tall. The 57-year-old O’Farrill’s father was Havana-born Chico O’Farrill (1921-2001), the gifted pianist, composer and arranger whose work fueled memorable recordings by Machito, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman,
Stan Kenton and others.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published