Dec. 29th 1964 - Luis Ramón Valle Sanchez is born in Holguin, Cuba.
1984: Ramón graduates from the Escuela Provincial de Arte in Havana, Cuba.
1985: Ramón plays a double concert with Emiliano Salvador. He also performs as a solo-artist and as the leader of his quartet "Brujula" during the Havana Jazz Festival, Mexico and the Jazz Festival in Bogota, Colombia.
1991 - 1993: Ramon is the pianist of the Silvio Rodriguez group Diakara. Ramón records his first CD Levitando with musicians Dafnis Prieto, Felix Betancourt and Antonio Guillem.
1995 - 1999: Ramón has his first performance in Europe at the Jamboree Jazz Club in Barcelona, Spain. It is here where he records the live cd "Casa Jamboree" with the musicians Salvador Niebla(drums) and Carles Benavent(bass). He releases his 2nd CD "Piano Solo." He settles in Amsterdam and tours Germany, Scandinavia and Spain.
2000: Ramón Valle co-operates as an orchestrator, composer and pianist with the project "Ritmo Flamenco Cubano" and tours with them through Germany.
Ramon plays for the first time with his trio at the North Sea Jazz Festival, Holland. Critics call him "the surprise of the Festival."
2001: Valle's trio plays the North Sea Jazz Festival a second time with special guest musician Jane Bunnet.
2002: He releases his 3rd CD "Danza Negra" on German record label ACT with musicians Perico Sambeat (sax), Carlos Puig (trumpet), Omar Rodriguez Calvo (bass) and Horacio el Negro Hernandez (drums). Ramón plays the Montreux Jazz Festival, Leverkusen Festival and Jazz Plaza Habana.
2003: Ramón plays the North Sea Jazz Festival with guest musicians Roy Hargrove and Perico Sambeat. Valle writes a composition for the Amsterdam Foundation of Art titled: "Mixed-up Mokum," premiered in the Concert Hall of Amsterdam. He releases his 4th CD, "No Escape" on ACT with musicians Omar Rodriguez Calvo(bass) and Liber Torriente(drums). Ramón collaborates and plays on a Ben Lierhouse project called "Parsifal goes La Habana."
2004: He tours "No Escape" through Holland, Belgium, France and Spain and Hungary. In Italy, Ramón plays together with Chucho Valdes during Jazz Manherba. The concert is called: Chucho Valdes meets Ramón Valle. He also plays the Piano Solo Festival, Prague.
2005: Ramón plays South Africa's Capetown Jazz Festival with his trio and also tours Luxembourg, Austria, France and Prague and presents various concerts with the Dutch trumpet player Eric Vloeimans with a project called "Ramón Valle meets Eric Vloeimans." Ramón composes music for a documentary on Dutch TV called "Benigno, Farewell of a Revolution" by Marlou van Berge.
2006: Ramón plays on the debut album of opera star Tania Kross. Ramón releases his piano solo and 5th CD "Memorias" on ACT and tours Holland, Germany, Spain and France. He plays together with Horacio el Negro Hernandez and Italuba at the Music Meeting in Nijmegen, Holland. In Istanbul he plays with his trio and guest musician Perico Sambeat during the Akbank International Jazz Festival.
2007: Ramón performs with his trio and guest musician Perico Sambeat at the Melbourne Jazz Festival, Australia. With the Gnawa Crossroads Project he tours Holland, Morocco, Germany and Spain.
Ramón gives various concerts with Eric Vloeimans. With his own trio he performs at the Granollers Jazz Festival, Spain, the Johannesburg Jazz Festival, South Africa and various festivals in Colombia.
2008: With Reno Steba he performsperfoms at the Aruba Jazz Festival. With Eric Vloeimans and Gabor Winand he plays the Hungarian Jazz Festival in Budapest. Ramón records his 5th CD "Fabulas" together with Eric and Gabor for the BMC label.
2009: Ramón starts his own record label called "RVS MUSIC" and releases his new trio CD Playground (his 6th) with musicians Omar Rodriguez Calvo (bass) and Owen Hart Jr.(drums). Ramón Valle presents "Playground" at the Bimhuis, Amsterdam. The trio is a guest on the Dutch television program "Vrije Geluiden". This interview and trio performance (is in English) on YouTube. (Ramon Valle interview for VPRO Vrije Geluiden).
2010: With "Playground" the trio tours at world festivals in Colombia, Israel, London, Italy, Romania, Belgium, Holland at the North Sea Jazz Festival and in the famous Concert Hall of Amsterdam.
2011: Ramon is asked to be the guest soloist of Holland's XLJAZZ Orchestra by Martin Fondse. He plays several concerts with this orchestra and records an album with them called "Martian World" featuring two of his compositions and arrangements. Ramón tours Israel as a duo with the Dutch Jazz singer Denise Jannah. In October of 2011, Ramón records his 7th album and second cd from his own record label RVS MUSIC, "Flashes from Holland" with guest musician Jesse van Ruller. This project receives support from the Dutch Performing Arts Fund. Flashes from Holland is released in March 2012.
2012: With the project "Skins & Keys" Ramon tours in February of this year through theaters in Holland. It is a project with 3 percussionists and Ramon Valle on piano. In March 2012, Ramon releases his new RVS album "Flashes from Holland" at the Bimhuis in Amsterdam. The concert is sold-out. The album receives only positive critique and 4 and 5 star ratings. With "Flashes from Holland" Ramon Valle tours many theaters in Holland, and also international festivals, such as the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Barcelona Jazz Festival and the International Jazz Festival in BarquisimetoBaqrquisimeto/Venezuela. Also the quartet is selected to give a showcase at the Dutch Jazz and World Meeting 2012.
2013: Ramon Valle continues performing with his trio in this year, especially in Germany. The trio plays at different festivals, such the Klavier-Festival in Essen, in Elmau at the beautiful "Schloss Elmau" and at the Bayerischer Hoffe in Munich, and also at the jazzclubs, like the A-Trane in Berlin.
2014: Ramon signs exclusively with U.S. Manager/Producer Suzi Reynolds who produces a deluxe CD/DVD project called TAKE OFF and signs him to the internationally distributed label, IN + OUT RECORDS, who will release this outstanding project featuring an “in studio” DVD with live audience in March 2015. This is Valle's first project on which he features his “take offs” of four jazz, pop and folk classics, completely rearrangedre-arranged in his own style, along with seven outstanding originals.
With great concerts in Germany, Switzerland and Hungary behind us, Ramón Valle will continue his international tour together with his trio, presenting his brand new album
''The Time Is Now''
Check the Agenda below to see where Ramón will be playing near you this Spring.
''The Time Is Now'' is available online at Itunes, Amazon, Spotify etc. and directly through Ramón's website.
And for those of you who have not seen it yet, check out the video clip of the title song.
Cuban Classical and Jazz by two Cuban Masters.
When Ramón Valle ‘The other face of Cuban jazz’ and Latin American classical and contemporary music specialist Gustavo Corrales Romero join forces, the live experience is like no other.
You can expect an exciting, electrifying interaction played on two pianos, spiced up by their own arrangements and compositions and Valle’s signature improvisations.
Sunday May 6th, Lutherse Kerk, Den Haag, The Netherlands.
German saxofonist Peter Materna and Cuban pianist Ramón Valle will meet each other on stage in Bonn, Germany on June 6th and 7th. An exclusive collaboration at an exclusive venue.
Cuban piano sensation, Ramon Valle, met “in demand” drummer, Ernesto Simpson at the Havana Conservatory while both were students there. They began playing together and their collaboration created musical fireworks that sent a buzz throughout the country. It was during this same period that Ramon began to hear great things about another young Cuban bassist, Omar Rodriguez Calvo. These three brilliant instrumentalists joined forces and Valle, leading this group through his original compositions and arrangements of extraordinary pathos and passion, such as his anthemic “Levitando,” turned the trio into a golden combination that became legendary in Cuba.
A number of musical adventures eventually separated these three kindred musical spirits. Ramon’s adventures took him to Mexico, Columbia, Spain, France Germany, Italy Australia, London, Romania, Belgium and Scandinavia before ultimately settling in Holland, and found him working with such iconic musicians as Emilio Salvador, Silvio Rodriguez, Dafnis Prieto, Felix Betancourt, Antonio Guillem, Jane Bunett, The Ber Sheva Philharmonic Orchestra in Israel and the great Chucho Valdez, whose father, Bebo, actually taught piano to Ramon as a child.
Drummer Ernesto Simpson made a name for himself in the U.S performing with iconic artists as Carmen McRae, Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis, Mike Stern, Michel Legrand, Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker, George Benson, Salif Kieta, Tito Puente, Giovanni Hidalgo, Arturo Sandoval, Paquito D’Rivera, Ray Barretto, Bryan Lynch, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and the Cameroonian.
Bassist Omar Rodriguez Calvo, with equal chops on acoustic and electric bass performing in both classical and jazz genres, earned a stellar reputation performing with Roy Hargrove, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Orange Blue, Mike Stern, the NDR Big Band, the Klassic Philharmonie in Hamburg, Classica Cubana and in the Tingvall Trio.
Each of these multi-talented artists came back together fueled with the fire that only these kinds of rich experiences can bring. The musical magic of The Ramon Valle Trio is now greater than ever as they perform at such venues as The North Sea Jazz, Montreux, Leverkusen, Capetown, Akbank, Melbourne, Hungarian and Venezeulan Jazz Festivals and clubs in Germany as Klavier-Festival, Schloss Elmau, Bayericher Hofin Munich and the A-Trane in Berlin. They were also recently featured with Holland’s XLJAZZ Orchestra and filmed and recorded for VPRO Radio, Holland.
Early in 2014, The Ramon Valle Trio was back in the studio recording the next musical incarnation of these three deeply connected and exceptional artists. With them will be Valle’s new Manager/ Producer – Suzi Reynolds, who is committed to launching this stellar Trio into the consciousness of international jazz audience at main stages around the world.
JAZZIZ MAGAZINE USA
Valle is equally adept at intensely swinging like Oscar Peterson – but with a groove that reflects the syncopation of the Afro--?Cuban clave – playing pop music or reveling in the island’s many traditional rhythms. And like any of the pianists who record for ECM, Valle can draw the curtain down around himself and play powerfully introspectivemusic.
Ramon Valle - Piano solo:
Experiencing a solo performance by Ramón Valle is as listening to a concert of a whole orchestra.
Along with his strong classical background , he has an inbuilt love of all types of music, from opera through to many strands of contemporary jazz.
He is a totally honest performer full of emotion and imagination.
Ramón Valle is one of those artists in jazz where mentioning stylistic comparisons with any individual pianist such as Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock, Cuba’s foremost jazz pianist, Chucho Valdez or Cecil Taylor could only paint part of the picture of what his music is about. He can only be compared with one person – Ramón Valle.
Like he says in his own words: "Sometimes I feel like a troubadour, because I tell stories, stories without words".
Technical virtuosity and a unique improvisational style deeply influenced by his love for classical music and his Cuban heritage are the ingredients of this young piano player.
RAMÓN VALLE TRIO
- Ramón Valle - piano
- Omar Rodriguez Calvo - double bass
- Liber Torriente - drums
RAMÓN VALLE QUARTET
- Ramon Valle - piano
- Omar Rodriguez Calvo - double bass
- Liber Torriente - drums
- Jesse van Ruller - guitar
In 2006 Ramón received the assignement to write a compositions for the Dutch classical guitar player Esther Steenbergen.
Ramon named the composition ‘Molinos’. Which is Spanish for ‘Mill’. While writing this composition he got the idea to write a new album for his trio inspired by the different impressions he had of Holland.
When Ramón begin to write the music for this new album he found that the music was in need of a guitar.
Immediately he called the Dutch ‘Thelonious Monk Award’ winner guitar player Jesse van Ruller, who directly wanted to join the trio. A new quartet was born.
Ramón Valle about the quartet:
This quartet is not a typical jazz quartet, the music consists of many different musical influences, including classical, rock and latin. The themes are written, but the music leaves a lot of space for improvisation.
The compositions are subtle, melodic, but also explosive and powerful.
RAMÓN VALLE QUINTET
- Ramón Valle - piano
- Omar Rodriguez Calvo - double bass
- Liber Torriente - drums
- Perico Sambeat - saxophone
- Carlos Puig - trumpet
For this band, Ramón Valle arranged compositions of one of Cuba´s most famous pianist and composer Ernesto Lecuona.
Valle managed with great succes to write jazz versions of these well known classical compositions, for which Ramón received the congratulations of some of Cuban highly respected musicians such as Paquito D’Rivera and Leo Brouwer. He is offering a program of highly original interpretations of Lecuona´s music arranged for jazz quintet that remain true to the original themes while transporting them to another stylistic level.
The stellar band of Latin musians that Ramón Valle selected for this quintet delivers one inspired performance after another.
RAMÓN VALLE & MARACA DUO
PRESENT ''THE ART OF TWO''
- Ramón Valle - piano
- Orlando 'Maraca' Valle - flute
Musical empathy and nearness, but also virtuosity and brightness are some of the main characteristics of these two personalities of the Cuban music scene, cousins in real life, who have both achieved an outstanding musical career; Ramon, the pianist, has performed with Roy Hargrove, Silvio Rodriguez and as a leader of his own trio, he has offered shows worldwide in some of the best jazz festivals, while Maraca, once nominated to the US Grammy Awards, a former member of chucho valdès and Irakere's band as a flutist and keyboardist is the mastermind and bandleader of numerous thrilling projects such as Maraca and his Latin Jazz All Stars, and often featured as a special guest of international scope Artists such as Al di Meola.
This project adapts in varying formats, duo, quartet or quintet.
RAMÓN VALLE + ORCHESTRA
- Ramón Valle & (symphonic) Orchestra
This project shows the enormous diversity of Valle’s talent and skills. Besides being an extraordinary pianist, he also has a special gift in writing for orchestra’s.
In 2013 he was invited to arrange some of his own compositions and some Cuban standards for the Symphonic orchestra of Beer Sheeva in Israel. He went there and played with them as a guest pianist with great succes. It is not common that a Jazz musician writes for and improvises together with a classical orchestra.
Because of this big succes, Ramon has been invited again for the same concept with another orchestra in Israel in may 2015. He then will be arranging for and playing with the Raanana Symphonette.
In January 2014 Ramon Valle was invited as a solo pianist with The Metropole Orchestra from Holland. Also with this orchestra there are plannes to repeat this colaboration again soon.
- “Valle is a more open, overly emotional piano – trio master than Brad Meldhau. Mcoy Tyner and Chick Corea are the musicians who come to mind as comparisons. He is a formidably sophisticated player rooted in Cuban jazz, but drawing on resources way beyond the usual suspects the idiom usually calls up.”
THE GUARDIAN, LONDON
- “Valle is equally adept at intensely swinging like Oscar Peterson – but with a groove that reflects the syncopation of the Afro-Cuban clave-playing pop music or reveling in the island’s many traditional rhythms. And like any of the pianists who record for ECM, Valle can draw the curtain down around himself and play powerfully introspective music.”
- “Technical virtuosity and a unique improvisational style deeply influenced by his love for classical music and his Cuban heritage are the ingredients of this young piano player.”
JAZZIZ MAGAZINE USA
- Although pianist Ramón Valle (who contributed all 11 selections), bassist Omar Rodríguez Calvo, and drummer Liber Torriente were all born originally in Cuba and are masterful with polyrhythms, the music that they perform on No Escapeis more post-bop jazz than it is Latin or Afro-Cuban jazz. Valle's style recalls Herbie Hancock of the 1960s at times, although it is fairly original. Working closely with his sidemen, Valle performs pieces that are often dark, complex, and a bit dissonant but not without their lighthearted moments. Of these, "El Vigia" is an inventive jazz waltz, the lengthy "Andar por Dentro" sounds mysterious, and "Brindemos" swings hard in its fashion. None of these originals are destined to become standards, but they certainly do challenge the musicians, who somehow often sound as one, following each other telepathically and creating stirring music.
SCOTT YANOW - ALLMUSIC
- Before the Cuban revolution, U.S. jazz musicians would regularly play the island's hotels and casinos for the tourists. After hours the Cuban and American musicians would converge on a handful of small clubs for jam sessions. This is where the Cubans could meet and learn from their idols, and U.S. musicians could soak up the local rhythmic lingo.Ramon Valle is a direct descendant of those after-hours descargas. A graduate of the National School of the Arts in Havana, Valle is equally adept at intensely swinging like Oscar Peterson-but with a groove that reflects the syncopation of the Afro-Cuban clave-playing pop music or reveling in the island's many traditional rhythms. And like any of the pianists who record for ECM, Valle can draw the curtain down around himself and play powerfully introspective music.Bassist Omar Rodriguez Calvo and drummer Liber Torriente have to be able to swing, play with an avant-garde bite or approximate the energy of a traditional bata drummers' circle. They do so flawlessly on the CD's 11 tracks.
FELIX CONTRERA S - JAZZTIMES on Ramon Valle Trio No Escape.
- Valle is a more open, overtly emotional piano-trio master than Brad Mehldau: McCoy Tyner and Chick Corea are the musicians who come to mind as comparisons. He is a formidably sophisticated player rooted in Cuban jazz, but drawing on resources way beyond the usual suspects the idiom usually calls up. This is a fine ensemble performance for Valle and his two partners - Omar Rodriguez Calvo on bass and Liber Torriente on drums - with the sound of the bass more lovingly absorbed into the mix than Larry Grenadier is with Mehldau. Calvo's warm and luxurious sound is given considerable presence here, and the group sounds as close and responsive in its way as Mehldau's does. All the pieces are Valle originals, and they bustle and chatter with a heated, dancing, street-scene vivacity. Some songs have a pungent Spanish flavour, some have a poignant, love-song simplicity (though in the case of Andar Por Dentro with a dark, tolling menace beneath). Some crackle with percussion and staccato alternations of dense melody and headlong swing; there's an effervescent broken-tempo blues, a stealthy, harmonicallymobile samba, and some bursts of free improvisation that even stray into the stormy waters of Cecil Taylor. For once, this is an album that represents a talented band quite a lot better than its live show did.
JOHN FORDHAN - THE GUARDIAN on Thursday, Feb 19, 2004 on Ramon Valle No Escape
- 44 Voll-Damm Barcelona Jazz Festival: Francesco Tristano, Ramon Valle Trio with Jesse Van Ruller and Fred Hersch
JOAN FARGAS, ALLABOUTJAZZ Published: November 19, 2012
44 Voll-Damm International Jazz Festival of Barcelona L'Auditori-Hall 2
October 31, 2012
- The young pianist Francesco Tristano was commissioned to open the cycle Barcelona Jazz Festival called Clàssics in the chamber hall of L ' Auditorium. A declaration of principles without bias an interesting cycle that opens the door to proposals that pass through the relationship between jazz and classical music. Knowing his background, the audience attending the concert willing to get sucked into the boundless energy and creativity a young musician who has recorded two albums with Deutsche Grammophon mixing quite naturally (in recordings and concerts) Bach, Cage and between electronic creations, contemporary music and improvisation. Tristano raised an evening in which electronic mainly linked with virtually no breaks, several original compositions, including a tribute to Monk - "Midnight 'Round" - special premiere for the occasion. using, in addition to the Steinway, computer, sampler , pedals and keyboard, pianist based in Barcelona built Luxembourg broad themes, with a great deal of repetition and stubborn, leading to a peak in the chamber hall became a particularly rave with the public still and absolutely silent. Contrast to some provocative perspective that breaks in the artist's usual line, the boundaries and barriers between styles, conventions and rituals related to music. With his hit "The Melody" ( Not for piano , Infine 2007), which have published several versions and remixes, the concert came out on top. Introduction to piano solo that has been extended to the entrance effects relentless sampler lying low on the basis of the theme that flooded the room full of energy and rhythm. Also noteworthy improvisations, mostly from the Yamaha XF8, who brought freshness and lightness to his consistent and energetic speech. At the end of the concert Tristano linked, leaving no room for applause, the 32 partitas the aria La Capricciosa Baroque composer Dietrich Buxtehude, including in his last recording ( Long Walk , Deutsche Grammophon 2012). Only with the piano, occasionally supported by some effect, skillfully reeled music, it seems, inspired Bach to compose the Goldberg Variations . A pause, with travel time included, then to resume its electronic version showing the links between different music spanning his unique and eclectic artistic proposal. 's public insistence ovation and two encores started, including classic Derrick May " Strings of Life "( Not for piano , Infine 2007). At the end the audience left the room stunned, waking from an intense journey without pause of nearly two hours. Ramon Valle Trio with Jesse Van Ruller 44 Voll-Damm International Jazz Festival of Barcelona Gas Light November 2, 2012 Ramon Valley , Cuban pianist based in Amsterdam, the city revisited its European debut (Jamboree Jazz Club, 1995), within the jazz festival program. Valley concert focused on themes from his latest CD Flashes from Holland (SVR Music, 2011) with little stories describing everyday reality of adaptation and coexistence in Dutch society. Taking the challenge of telling through music, complex process for all immigrants to feel lost to be able to "understand and who understand" in a culture other than their own. On this particular trip, personal descriptive accompanied the pianist and composer bassist Omar Rodriguez Calvo , regular sparring partner Valle, drummer Julio Barreto and prolific Dutch guitarist Jesse van Ruller , guest starred on the project and the only non-Cuban night. The physical and rhythmic speech contrasted with input Valley Van Ruller, more cold and distant while technically flawless. Forced and dizzying unison solos flowed into long and elaborate, perfectly tucked behind Rodriguez and Barreto, giving a swift and forceful drive to almost the entire concert. The ballad "Dayla" (dedicated to his relationship with his daughter two years and a half) gave, for a moment, more prominence to the melody and spaces, showing a more lyrical side of the pianist. Another completely different register was "Van Gogh Letters," inspired by the correspondence between the Dutch painter and his brother in this piece reflects the complexity Valley artist and fraternal relationship with the contrast of the poetic and melodic beauty with confusion more dense and cluttered, chaotic moments. After "A Cuban Lost," more Cuban composition of the night, closed the evening the cheerful "Amsterdam Party Time," which, funk and swing alternating fragments showed until the last sigh the proposed power Valle and his team. Fred Hersch 44 Voll-Damm International Jazz Festival of Barcelona Liceu Conservatory November 8, 2012 A storm of snow and wind in New York forced the cancellation of flights and prevented the trio Fred Hersch Barcelona present their new album, Alive at the Vanguard (Palmetto, 2012), as announced in the festival program. The incident opened the possibility that Hersch, that contrary to his rhythm section had come ahead to Barcelona to do a master class in the same Liceu Conservatory, made a solo piano performance.
- That among the audience in the hall of the Liceu were many musicians of different generations input justified the title of small cycle Mestres (masters) that was included in the show, and demonstrated the expectation among professionals to see the master teacher in action . Hersch built the concert on its own repertoire that showed his undeniable quality as a composer and performer. Without artifice, conveying sincerity and fullness, generated from the first note a climax delicate and nuanced that dazzled the audience. The concert was full of magical moments as "Pastorale" ( Alone at the Vanguard , Palmetto 2011) dedicated to the music of Schumann, to pluck one of the more senses applause of the night. At the end of the concert there was time for some standards such as Embraceable You Gershwin or medley with The Song is You & Played Twice disk that is part of the trio that, a priori, is presented that night. As last encore, Hersch played Valentine , a beautiful ballad that was the perfect icing for a memorable evening. The audience left the auditorium with the feeling of having enjoyed one of the jewels of this festival, a concert gorgeous, full of sensitivity and intensity. Bad weather in New York, at the end of the day, provided the luck in Barcelona to enjoy one of the masters of jazz piano XXI century in the privacy of one. We hope that, as proposed by Hersch himself at the beginning of the concert, next year can delight your audience Barcelona in threesome.
No Escape by Ramón Valle – Turiya Mareya, JAZZREVIEW on 8/8/2003
- Pianist Ramón Valle’s first concern as a Jazz artist has been to find his own voice. He is now at the place where he feels he has done that and his concern has moved to expanding his musical language and reaching for higher levels of expression. Although he was raised in Cuba and received the extraordinary classical training which Cuban musicians are known for, American Jazz was not a foreign music to him. His father played trumpet and loved Jazz and owned recordings by such artists as Gerry Mulligan and Dizzy. There were Jam sessions at his home-descargas with Cuban percussion and jazz inspired solos. There was also a Cuban Jazz show on the radio nightly and a USA station that came in and out. Ramónwould hear a few bars of music, then the sound would fade leaving him to complete the musical phrases in his imagination. The traditional music of his homeland was omnipresent and absorbed daily in the air, the voices, the life all around him. His Mother sang, loved poetry and insured that he and his five sisters -all of whom also play music -studied hard, practiced and pursued their musical studies with discipline and dedication.
- The title of his latest CD " No Escape" came from producer Siegfried Loch who said the Ramón’s music held you captive and enthralled and once in the grip there was no escape. I experienced this at a Madrid Jam Session where he played on a recent visit. He came to the bandstand and from the first note it was obvious that something different, almost from another dimension was happening and I witnessed an audience held captive, dumbfounded and amazed at what they were hearing.With his beatific smile and warm engaging manner he beguiled the other musicians on the stand into following him into a spacious, flowing yet eclectic expression as he deconstructed the standards "All the Things You Are’ and ‘Lover Man.’
- In his trio with fellow Cubans - Bassist Omar Rodriguez Calvo and drummer LiberTorriente - they are seeking to find and express their personal group voice and redefine what Latin Jazz could be with expanded parameters, by creating an interplay of conversation in which the basic rhythm and harmonies are felt and used as an internal source for new directions. The trio has been playing together for 7 years and know each other intimately functioning together as one cohesive unit comprised of 3 strong musical personalities. These are musicians who have thoroughly absorbed and internalized the language and sensibilities of jazz. Their Cuban musical heritage is alive in their bones, breath and blood but not implicitly stated. This is the latest direction of Cuban Jazz that is setting new standards and directions. They are so passionately committed to the continued evolution of this sound that when not actually playing they are endlessly talking about the music and how to keep it fresh, alive and growing. These are young artists in full command of their technical and artistic development and ready to follow where the music is leading them and conscious of both their command of their art and of the place where they surrender all control and allow the music to breathe and go its own course free from preconceptions and expectations.
- The music of No Escape is all original and composed by Ramón Valle who in his compositional process first hears the melody and then sees it as a shape, finally allowing it to incubate until it emerges as a complete piece.
- The first cut "El Vigia", refers to someone who watches at the border and is a metaphor for fathers who watch over their children and try to protect them from any dangers that may lie in their path. It is a lilting waltz, which makes masterful use of dynamics and colors emphasizing group interplay using a deceptively simple thematic device that is developed with subtle intensity. It is a beautiful example of the conversational aspect of the musical aesthetic than Valle espouses for his trial work.
- ‘De Vuelta Casa’, is an expression of the joy of returning home, well known to all travelers and immigrants. It is taken at a brisk tempo though the light deft touch of drummer Torriente makes the time seem to float. Emerging from the sophisticated harmonies is the suggestion of a montuno, which dissolves back into bubbling dancing rhythmic flow. Bassist Omar Rodríguez emerges at one point from the flow, as a lead voice in the conversation which is responded to by Valle in a 21st century version of call and response, showing that a music on the cutting edge of harmonic sophistication can still retain African roots by virtue of sensibility and point of reference. Alive in Valle’s musical voice is the spirituality of his mother who carries in her blood the voices of her Yoruba ancestors. The African sensibilities can also be heard in the drums of Torriente which unlike the traditional swing feel- which seems to be in route on a highway- he create a percussive environment where we are already there, just exploring and enjoying being in the eternal moment, which is a profoundly African musical quality.
- "Forty Degrees" (centigrade) is about heat and burns with a strong open rhythm embellished with Arabic and Spanish scales structures. The group demonstrates an almost telepathic group interaction as a simple repeated bass figure is deconstructed and permuted and used as the basis for improvisation with a series of rhythmic breaks. The whole piece, as is all of Valle’s work, is highly reminiscent of Bud Powell And Elmo Hope.
- "Vivo Coltrane" was created live in the studio during the recording session. The Producer played Coltrane’s "Ole" for Valle, which he had not previously heard.Using that as a basis the group took the 6/8 rhythms and the melodic idea to create freely an interpretation, which is meditative and illustrates the musical oneness created by 7 years of collaboration. Improvisation can be compared to lovemaking which done right requires deep surrender and sensitivity to your partner. If that metaphor holds here this sounds like lovers who know each other’s bodies so well they can relax completely into the dance of love.
- "Andar Por Dentro" (literally Walk Inside) is a ballad about the fact that we all have our cross to bear and even those who appear happy can be carrying a deep sadness inside. For Ramón Valle, that sadness he carries in the midst of an otherwise happy and fulfilling life is the pain of being so far from his home and his beloved family in Cuba. He tells us that sometimes pain demands our presence and all we can do is walk inside and be there with it, experiencing it fully. This contemplative expression is made on top of a bass pedal tone and while the time is there, it is felt more as a heartbeat pulse. Ramón Valle through his composition allows us to take this journey, to walk inside ourselves and embrace our pain and the ultimate irony and paradox of life, it’s essentially bittersweet quality, the knowledge that joy and pain are interdependent.
- "Illegal" was written in response to Valle’s experience of living for a short time inHolland without residence papers. Although now he holds Dutch citizenship, he remembers the vulnerability of that situation. The expression is made in a free Jazz Format, although the freedom is only possible because of intense discipline and focus,and is an improvisation on the highly composed rhythmic structures at the beginning and end. This has a dark serious quality evoking the urban streets and stark inescapable realities.
Ramon Valle feels strongly that life without risk will yield little fruit. He states that in order to fly you have to jump off the cliff. In his life and music he has dared and challenged himself to take his art to the next level. "No Escape" is also about his personal mission to recreate Latin Jazz and continue to grow and evolve as an artist,and from that compulsion, he also has "No Escape".
PERFORMANCE DAY CITY VENUE INFORMATION CONCERT INFORMATION
04-27-18 Berlin, Germany. Trio ''The Time Is Now'', Zig Zag
04-27-18 Berlin, Germany. Trio ''The Time Is Now'', Zig Zag
04-28-18 Athens, Greece. Trio ''The Time Is Now'', Half Note
04-30-18 Athens, Greece. Trio ''The Time Is Now'', Half Note
05-06-18 The Netherlands. Cuban Classical and Jazz, Lutherse Kerk, Den Haag
05-26-18 Israel. Quartet with 'Maraca' Valle Kfar Saba Cultural Hall
05-29-18 Israel. Quartet with 'Maraca' Valle Zappa Herzliya
05-30-18 Israel. Quartet with 'Maraca' Valle Modiin Einan Hall
05-31-18 Tel Aviv, Israel. Quartet with 'Maraca' Valle Recanati Auditorium
06-01-18 Israel. Quartet with 'Maraca' Valle Tel Aviv Museum of Art
06-02-18 Israel. Quartet with 'Maraca' Valle Abba Hushi Center of Culture, Haifa
06-06-18 Nees, Bonn, Germany. Duo with Peter Materna Duo with Peter Materna
06-07-18 Nees, Bonn, Germany. Duo with Peter Materna Duo with Peter Materna
06-09-18 Terneuzen, The Netherlands. Trio + Rick Margitza ''The Time Is Now''
06-30-18 Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Trio Bimhuis,''The Time Is Now''
07-15-18 North Sea Jazz Festival. Trio ''The Time Is Now''