Acclaimed Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés will serve as the artist in residence for this year’s Detroit Jazz Festival, which plans on returning with live crowds in downtown Detroit for the first time since 2019 due to the pandemic.
In a press release, the festival bills Valdés as “the most influential figure in modern Afro-Cuban jazz.”
“His artistry at the Festival, coupled with his monumental career and status as a worldwide leader in Afro-Cuban jazz will make the perfect statement as we transition back into an in-person format with a new perspective,” Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation president and artistic director Chris Collins said in a statement.
Through the fest’s artist in residence program, Valdés will engage with students and the community throughout the year, and will also perform multiple times during the festival, scheduled for Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2-5.
He’s also set to perform at a Detroit Jazz Festival preview event on April 30 at the future home of the Gretchen C. Valade Jazz Center on Wayne State University’s campus.
Valdés was founder, pianist, and main composer and arranger of the Cuban ensemble Irakere, which was discovered by Dizzy Gillespie while he was visiting Havana on a jazz cruise in 1977. Valdés went on to win seven Grammy Awards, three Latin Grammy Awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, and was inducted into the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame.