Playing tracks by
Mario Bauza, Chico y Rita NY Band, Machito, Frank Fernandez, Art Tatum and more.
When Bebo Valdés passed away at age 94 in 2013, he not only left behind a legacy as one of the founders of Latin jazz; he had achieved one of the greatest late=life musical comebacks ever. One of Cuba's most celebrated pianists in a country of keyboard kings, Valdés, sat at the piano of the Tropicana during the club's heyday. The composer and band leader left Cuba in the early 60s and lived quietly in Sweden before a spectacular second act of Grammy-winning albums and world tours. I first interviewed Bebo, when he was on the cusp of his comeback in the early Nineties, and for years after the old-school galan sent me an annual Christmas card . One afternoon in a hotel bar in New York, I asked Bebo to describe for me a soundtrack of his life; he told me his Latin and Jazz favorites and the stories behind them. Here, I've put them in a mix for you.
Mix cover art by David Navas