Some Comments About Valdes Music Productions...
Chicago Tribune Arts Critic, Howard Reich:
"Pulsating - Jose Valdes' Latin Jazztet an ensemble on the rise - For its first winter season in its new home, the Jazz Showcase has been experimenting with a new policy: local artists during the week, visiting headliners on weekends.
Though it will probably take a while fo the new winter format to catch on, it has been an important development for Chicago musicians on the way up. The mere fact that they've played the Showcase, a nationally known room, is bound to bring a degree of luster to their resumes.
One of the most appealing of the up-and-coming local ensembles to take the Showcase stage is Jose Valdes' Latin Jazztet, a band that has been gaining word-of-mouth recognition in recent months. Showcase owners Wayne and Joe Segal chose well in booking Valdes' group for the club's Latin jazz series, which features a different ensemble each Thursday night.
Valdes leads the band from the keyboard, but with the exception of an occasional solo, he focuses his attention on presiding over one of the tighter small Latin ensembles in the city. Taut rhythms, meticulous voicings, crisp dialogue among the players--these are at the heart of everything Valdes' sextet plays.
Though the band doesn't have a weak link, its front line proves particularly effective. Tenor saxophone Chuck Dezormeaux and trumpeter Tito Carillo are fervent players with abundant technique. They phrase lines as if playing a single instrument, articulating rhythmic accents and shaping melody lines as only artists who see eye to eye can do.
Add to that Dezormeaux's rambunctious solos and Carillo's warmly lyric playing and you have an unusually charismatic front line, but that's just the start of this ensemble's appeal. Percussionists Rey Reyes and Joe Frau yield consistent energy and drive.
With bassist Cal Drake and pianist Valdes keeping the pulse pushing ever forward, this band does not linger over any phrase very long.
As for Valdes' pianism, it's generally florid and rhapsodic in solos, terse and propulsive in ensemble passages.
During a recent show, the way Valdes and friends applied Latin rhythms to classic be-bop in Charlie Parker's "Scrapple from the Apple," the glistening right-hand lines and massive chords that Valdes brought to Dave Brubeck's, "In Your Own Sweet Way," said a great deal about the intelligence and creativity at work here."
(From a Chicago Tribune article published Monday February 10th, 1997)
City of Chicago-Richard M. Daley, Mayor-Mayor's Office of Special Events, Executive Director, James Law:
"Dear Mr. Valdes:
On Behalf of the City of Chicago and the Mayor's Office of Special Events, we would like to take this time to thank The Latin Jazztet for an outstanding performance. Your performance on the 1998 Taste Stage was one of the highlights of Taste of Chicago.
Your time, talent and energy are appreciated and admired.
Again, thank you for your performance and I hope you enjoy the remainder of the summer.
James Law, Executive Director Jeneene Brown-Mosley, Programming"
(From an official City of Chicago letter dated July 8, 1998)
Clients Cathy and Vince Lepinski:
Thank you for an outstanding performance at our March 24 wedding at The Oak Brook Hills. Our guests thoroughly enjoyed your talented bandand our Brother Richard greatly appreciated the opportunity to play with you. We hope you had a great time celebrating with us. We also hope to be able to utilize you again in the future.
Our Best - Cathy & Vince Lepinski"
(From a Thank You Card dated May 2, 2007)