César López and EGREM’s Birthday Gift to Chucho Valdés in his 80

César López and EGREM’s Birthday Gift to Chucho Valdés in his 80
Fecha de publicación: 
6 November 2021
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Few days ago, the outstanding Cuban saxophonist César López’s dream of performing his music with a Big band came truth and, even though it was a very personal project, he stated to the press that it was tribute, among many other stars, to his master Chucho Valdés.

Perhaps that is the main reason why, last Saturday, when Chucho turned 80 years old, César joined EGREM to gift “Una melodía a Picho,” as he nicknames with respect and tenderness that outstanding icon of the Cuban music, Chucho Valdés.

With this single, César López starts the promotion of his new album “Los herederos. Homenaje a Chucho Valdés e Irakere,” produced precisely by EGREM —pioneer of Cuba’s record studios— and where the aforementioned single is part of its track list, which is already accessible from the website Sandunga.cu and the rest of digital platforms for further distribution and marketing of music.

“When you have lived intensively, with so many experiences, success, and achievements, is very hard to gift something special, unique,” stated the note released by EGREM to the press. However, no one denies that it is a mission accomplished. No better team than César López, member of Irakere band for nearly ten years (1988-1997), and the quintet led by Chucho Valdés.

César himself confessed: “My idea…suits to what I inherited in my time with Irakere and my work with Chucho. Firstly, Picho is a way to call each other, only the two of us. It is a very private thing. It is like a name we usually call each other with tenderness. Regarding the single, I wanted to showcase that even though Chucho is a virtuoso pianist, he has a very strong melody vein, very interesting by the way…So I wanted to showcase in the single that well-thought melody that Chucho writes…That romantic, melodic vein Chucho has…”

And amid such intimacy, from a sincere respect and a profound knowledge of the work and style of the 1998 National Music Award-winner, a certain formula of virtuoso instrumentalists was formed, young and experienced musicians: Harold López-Nussa on the piano, Carlos del Puerto on the bass guitar, Enrique Pla on the drum, Harold Madrigal Frías and Julito Padrón on the trumpets, Germán Velazco and Jamil Schery Calderón on the saxophone, Yoandy Argudín on the trombone, Orlando “Maraca” Valle on the flute, maracas and large conga drum played by Yaroldy Abreu Robles, with César López’s voice.

The launching —took place last October 9th— was like a spoiler of a project that began at the Studio 18, EGREM, from July 9th to July 21st, 2021 with original idea, general direction and executive production by musicologist Élsida González Portal compiling a total of 10 tracks, which are going to be released singly by single, to the premiere of the new album on December, according to the Communication Department of the Company of Recordings and Musical Editions.

At this moment, César López leads his own band “Habana ensemble.” Besides, he is also member of the “Cuban Sax Quintet” and “Akokan Orchestra.”

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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