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Based in New York City, Grammy nominated pianist and
composer Manuel Valera was born and raised in Havana, Cuba. Since
arriving in NYC, he has become well known in the NYC modern jazz
scene, garnering national reviews and lending his talents as a pianist and
composer to such notable artist as Arturo Sandoval, Paquito DRivera,
Brian Lynch, Dafnis Prieto, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Jeff Tain
Watts, Chris Potter, Dave Binney, Adam Rogers, Mark Turner, John
Benitez, Samuel Torres, Joel Frahm, Yosvany Terry and Pedro Martinez
among many others.
This dynamic and prolific artist has recorded nine cds as a bandleader.
His critically acclaimed debut cd in 2004 Forma Nueva (MAVO) features
John Patitucci, Horacio El Negro Hernandez Bill Stewart and Seamus
Blake. Historia (Fresh Sounds New Talent 2005), a jazz quartet with
Antonio Sanchez, Seamus Blake and Ben Street. His third release
Melancolia (MAVO 2006)employs a string quartet incorporating
world rhythms and classical concepts in the jazz idiom. Vientos (Anzic,
2007),representing a new working quartet, features bassist James
Genus, drummer Ernesto Simpson, saxophonist Joel Frahm and a
woodwind quartet. His fifth and trio recording Currents (MaxJazz 2009)
features Ernesto Simpson and James Genus. His sixth recording New
Cuban Express (MAVO) released in 2012 received a Grammy nomination,
followed by Expectativas (MAVO 2013). His solo piano recording, Self
Portrait (MAVO), released in June 2014 is already receiving national
reviews. The most recent New Cuban Express recording In Motion was
released on CrissCross in September 2014.
In addition, he has been awarded several grants for composition most
notably Chamber Music Americas New Jazz Works and the ASCAP Young
Jazz Composer Award. Manuel has travelled the world performing in over
30 countries at some of the biggest international venues and festivals.