Cucurucho is an expressive player as comfortable with the classics and the dance music tradition as with jazz, Cucurucho Valdés has established himself as a singular voice on the piano playing upbeat Cuban jazz.
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A quiet unassuming presence, Cucurucho is an expressive player as comfortable with the classics and the dance music tradition as with jazz, Cucurucho Valdés has established himself as a singular voice on the piano. He’s equally comfortable playing Jarrett and Hancock one minute then Lecuona the next. Regardless of geneology, Cucurucho shares that his training was nurtured by the classics of traditional Cuban piano and by artists from other confines like Ignacio Villa “Bola de Nieve”, Jorge Bolet, Manuel Saumell , Ignacio Cervantes, Harold Gramatges, Hubert de Blanck, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, McCoy Tyner and Chick Corea, among others. Forever true to his Cuban musical roots, Cucurucho is a modern-day messenger.
Born in 1977, Cucurucho began his career at a very young age winning prizes, playing at national festivals and performing with the children’ group, Los Aragoncitos—modeled after famed Orquesta Aragon. He studied privately and then entered the prestigious Almadeo Roldan school which was known for its rigor. But he did his postgraduate work on the bandstand, playing with the most popular bands of the day, such as Charanga Habanera and Charanga Forever, and accompanying top vocalists such as Isaac Delgado and Paulo FG, to name a few.
It was in these early days, in fact during his professional debut performance, that Roberto Carlos became Cucurucho Valdés. The story is told that Roberto Carlos had forgotten to eat that day while he was practicing and preparing for the concert. He only had access to some cocktail peanuts immediately prior to the show which he put in his back pocket. After the concert while taking a bow, the peanuts had become peanut butter. “Cucurucho” is the cone shaped paper where peanuts are sold on the street in Havana. The musicians had anointed him, and the name stuck.