Manuel Valera | Piano, Fender Rhodes, Synths
Yosvany Terry | Alto and Soprano Saxophone, Chekere (except 8)
Tom Guarna | Electric and Acoustic Guitar
John Benitez | Bass
Ludwig Afonso | Drums
Paulo Stagnaro | Percussion on 2-10 and 12
Mauricio Herrera | Batas on 6 and Percussion on 1 and 11
Manuel Valera (Sr) | Alto Saxophone on 8
Produced by Manuel Valera for Mavo Records
About the Music on Expectativas:
The music on this recording represents my continued growth as a composer, pianist and bandleader. I feel very fortunate
to have the opportunity to work regularly with the NCX and I feel a deep connection with all the members of the band. Here’s a brief synopsis of each track.
“Chamber Timba” is a composition that infuses the high energy of timba music with the subtleties of Jazz. This is a concept that we have been working on as a band. “Expectativas” is a tune that has been part of the band’s repertoire and I’ve always felt a sense of hope and innocence from this composition. “Perception” is a gentle cha cha chá that goes thru some
rhythmic changes. In the middle it goes to a danzón and at the ends it becomes a makuta with a timba flavor. “Chennai Express” is a tune dedicated to all my friends at S.A.M. (Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music) in southern India where I had the pleasure of teaching at the beginning of 2013 for 7 weeks. This tune is in 11/4.
I composed “Isabelita” when my daughter Isabel was born in 2008. She inspires everything I do. “Jben Timbus” is a feature for one of my favorite bass players anywhere: John Benitez. I’m so lucky he also happens to be part of the NCX! “La Gloria Eres Tu” is an amazing bolero by the great Cuban singer-songwriter Jose Antonio Mendez. This track is really exciting for me because my father, Manuel Valera (the saxophonist), is performing with us on this one. He has one of the most beautiful alto sounds out there and I’m really excited that we finally got a chance to record something together with the NCX.
“En Cinco” is a really old tune of mine. I actually recorded a different arrangement of this song on my debut CD Forma Nueva with El Negro Hernandez and John Patitucci. It has stayed in my repertoire thru the years and I’ve performed it in all sorts of formats—from solo piano to big band. On this track the band really opens up! “Open Window” is a song that gives you a sense of all the possibilities and different paths that one could take at any point life. “Descarga” is a tune based on the rhythmic motif from “Sandunga Mandinga Mondongo” by the great Cuban pianist Frank Emilio Flynn. “Las Americas” is a ballad that I dedicate to the entire American continent and to all our friends from the Western hemisphere.
Thank you for listening!
Manuel Valera, July 2013