The father of Chucho Valdés, Bebo Valdés was a major bandleader and pianist in Cuba before moving to Mexico in 1960 and eventually on to Scandinavia. Most of his early recordings have long been obscure and out-of-print, making this reissue a very welcome event. Valdés is heard in Cuba during 1955-1960 and on one selection apiece in Haiti and Mexico, usually leading a small big band. His music is gentle, melodic and danceable, occasionally cutting loose. While it is first and foremost dance and show music, Bebo Valdés' performances sometimes also cross over into Afro-Cuban jazz. All but four of the 25 selections are under three minutes long and none exceed three-minutes-and-fifty-one seconds, so these are very concise and melodic performances, but they do display the joy and beauty of Bebo Valdés' '50s music.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow