BEBO BEST aka The Alchemist Bebo Baldan, producer, musician, film composer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist (bass, percussion, drums, sitar, guitar & keyboards) has worked on over 300 albums, and many soundtracks for films and TV, and has international recognition for the wise and original use of electronics and ethnic music that distinguished his works. His collaborations with such personalities as Gilberto Gil, Moni Ovadia Jon Hassel, Steven Brown, Steve Reich, Michael Nyman, Wim Mertens, Nitin Sawhney, Trilok Gurtu, Sinead O' Connor, David Torn, Ruichy Sakamoto, Frank Zappa, the American violinist Stephen James (Ravi Shankar, Bill Laswell), and guitarist David Torn (David Sylvian, Jan Garbarek, Don Cherry) has allowed him to explore ethnic and non-European types of music, an original Mediterranean formula influenced by jazz, traditional and warm electronic music.
Cuban jazz legend Bebo Valdés is in charge of this wonderful soundtrack for Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal's animated film about the romance between a singer and a pianist, set in La Havana and New York of the '40s and '50s. In addition to Valdés, the main performers include Freddy Cole, Jimmy Heath, Idania Valdés, Germán Velasco, and Amadito Valdés, in a collection of both originals and jazz and bolero standards arranged by Michael Philip Mossman. Estrella Morente sings the main title song, "Lily."
Another great recordings by Cuban pianist, composer, arranger and bandleader Dionisio Ramon Emilio Valdés (Cuba, 1918-2013), aka 'Bebo Valdés'. The album was recorded in New York in four sessions during March 2001, when Bebo was already 82 years old. This album earned the win in the 2003 Grammy Awards for Best Traditional Tropical Latin Album. Together with his piano Bebo is accompanied by Israel López 'Cachao' (bass) and fellow veteran Carlos 'Patato' Valdes with congas and percussion. Additionally, in three of the issues involved with alto sax and clarinet the instrumentalist Paquito D'Rivera, noted for his sophisticated solos.
Bebo is considered one of the figures of the golden age of Cuban music and also performer of Afro-Cuban jazz. Since his departure from Cuba in 1960 to settle permanently in Sweden in 1963, Bebo disappeared from the musical memories of his Cuban people and spent more than 30 years out of his career until he reappeared in 1994 managing to recover his memory and triumphing with several of his jobs at the Grammy Awards. This album is a reissue of a compilation of recordings made in 1959, shortly before his departure from Cuba, with his orchestra (the first 11 issues), to which is added 4 Bebo cuts playing piano and featuring the ensemble 'Los Cordobeses'.
In 2003, the venerable Afro-Cuban pianist Ramon "Bebo" Valdés teamed with the modern Spanish flamenco singer Diego "El Cigala" Salazar for an incredible fusion of pan-Latin styles on their Grammy Award-winning album LÁGRIMAS NEGRAS. Directed by Spanish director Fernando Trueba (BELLE EPOQUE, CALLE 54), BLANCO Y NEGRO EN VIVO presents a visual companion to LÁGRIMAS NEGRAS with a 19-song live performance recorded in Mallorca in June 2003, as well as a behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of the album.
If eclectic is your bag, then Heartbeat might be your thing. Like Hector Zazou, Ryuichi Sakamoto employs a realm of many styles on this upbeat collection. Songs performed in Japanese, Russian, French, and English (by friends Youssou N'Dour, David Sylvian, and Deee-Lite's DJ Towa Towa and Super DJ Dmitri) top an already brimming album that is everything its predecessor, Beauty, wasn't. Two completely different versions of the title track add arty spice. "Triste" is a wonderful, lazy-afternoon stroll in Paris jazz; "Lulu" follows suit. Is there no end to this Sakamoto's talent? He does jazz, rap, and chucks in a couple of solo piano pieces reminiscent of his soundtrack work. "Songlines" came about via his score for Pedro Almodovar's High Heels. "Boram Gal" and "High Tide" – with guests Youssou N'Dour and Arto Lindsay, respectively – are both delicate and swathed in summer.