Luis Valle's Agarrate! features some of the hottest Latin jazz you've never heard. After moving to Japan in 1997, Western audiences have been deprived of Valle and his brilliant talent. Similar to his slightly more famous brother, Orlando "Maraca" Valle, Luis is not only a masterful soloist and lead instrument, but also composer and arranger. From the very beginning of Agarrate!, the listener is made aware that this is not Latin jazz as usual. The opening track, "Afro Timba" features a red-hot bata-driven 6/8 groove with an organic pulse that could only be produced by a bandleader destined for greatness. Valle's new surroundings have clearly colored his music, as there is a much jazzier aesthetic than that pursued by most of his contemporaries. Valle manages to create a small club vibe without sacrificing an ounce of the dance sensibility from which his music is borne. Similar to his brother's Tremenda Rumba!, Valle touches on many Cuban mainstays, such as danzon, rhumba, mambo, cha cha, and timba, treating all with the same intent and sensitivity. The rhythm section manages a very contemporary sound without overplaying, and the horns are both strong and supple. Though it may be some time before the American audiences are able to lay eyes on Valle and his crew, it would be wise to lay hands on his disc.
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AllMusic Review by Evan C. Gutierrez