The granddaddy of Latin Jazz, Chucho Valdés, revisits his seminal 1972 Cuban recording, Jazz Batá with a sequel nearly half a century later. The pianist, composer, and bandleader released Jazz Batá 2 in 2018. With the same small-group concept as its predecessor, the result is both rhythmic and lyrical.
The new Jazz Batá is comprised of Valdés, piano; Ramon Vazquez, acoustic bass; Yaroldy Abreu Robles, congas; and Dreiser Durruthy Bombalé, on batá and voice. Batá is the sacred, hourglass-shaped drum from Cuba and West Africa, and the traditional beats of both cultures permeate Valdés’ piano solos throughout the album.
Jazz Batá 2 was released to mark the centenary of the birth of Ramón “Bebo” Valdés, Valdés’ late father and teacher. The two giants of Cuban music shared a birthday on October 9. “Between the two of them, they’ve exercised a massive musical influence since the 1940s,” Latin Jazz Network noted.