A few words….. How Self Portrait came to life…..
Playing solo piano has always been very intimidating for me. I’m very critical and would always feel that I wasn’t ready. A couple of years ago my friend and producer, Jim Luce, helped me organize some solo concerts in New York. I had such a great time doing it, I realized that it was something I needed to do more of. Last November, another good friend, Arlan Harris, offered me the opportunity to record at his piano salon in upstate New York. I didn’t hesitate at the opportu¬nity. This recording was made on an amazing 1917 Steinway D that Arlan rebuilt.
After all the logistics were set, the question of what material to record became the issue. I wanted my solo record to represent some of the things that have influenced my never-ending path to mastering the piano. On Self Portrait, I wanted to cover the aspects that have had the most influ¬ence in my playing and writing. I performed some of my favorite jazz compositions by masters Bill Evans, Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk. Two of my favorite compositions from the bolero songbook, as well as some original compositions of mine written specifically for the solo piano format. In addition, I composed a set of three impromptus for this record that honor three of my favorite classical composers: George Gershwin, Erik Satie and Nicolas Slonimsky.
I hope this recording helps paint a picture for the listener of where I’m coming from and also where I’m going as a pianist and composer.
Thank you for listening.
Manuel Valera March/2014
MANUEL VALERA | Solo Piano
Recorded on November 13 and 19, 2014 at Arlan Harris Piano Salon
Recording Engineer: Juan Wust
Mixing by: Luis Güell and Manuel Valera at Digital Boulevard in Fairview, NJ
Mastering by: Luis Güell at Digital Boulevard in Fairview, NJ
Piano Technician: Arlan Harris www.arlanharris.com
Graphic Design, Cover/Back Photos: Lisa Walters Designs
Studio Photos: Yukari Chikura