Album: Chucho Valdes, Chucho's Steps (World Village)

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The Independent Culture

The master of madly chromatic Afro-Cuban piano, Chucho Valdes sounds right at the top of his prodigious form on this evocation of the jazz tradition, vamping away against drums and percussion with real fire.

His band is called the Afro-Cuban Messengers and there are dedications to the Marsalis family, John Coltrane and Joe Zawinul. It's all good but one really wants to see them play live, or at least hear a live recording. Lucky, then, that the band plays the Barbican in London on 18 November.