Bebo Valdés / Federico Britos

We Could Make Such Beautiful Music Together

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The piano and violin have been well matched and married in a variety of musical settings, from small ensembles to orchestral, classical, jazz, Latin, and to a lesser degree other genres. For veteran Cubans Valdes and Britos, the combination could not be more heartwarming, effusive, bright and yes, beautiful. This recording of 14 duets between these masters expresses all the emotional impact and romantic notions one could dream for and should expect. A program mixed with jazz standards, Latin evergreens and two originals, all in ballad or semi-balladic form, the two mix improvisations and well-known melodies with danzon, tango flavored and thoughtful mellow rhythms. Overall the music is cool, paced well, barely simmers, and moves interestingly forward, never in stasis. Everything is precious, but some select highlights include the dancing delicate classicism of Ernesto Lecuona's "Noche Azul," the obscure Juan Tizol tango-ish "Bakiff," and Valdes' original dedication to "Claudia." The title track is intriguing in that at first it sounds like a waltz, but is in 4/4 time. "Waltz for Debby" stands out in the extended, interpolated treatment Valdes gives it apart from its author, Bill Evans. "The Way You Look Tonight" is the best swinger, a Britos original "Together" shows more spirit and animation, while Astor Piazzola's "Adios Nonino" offers stark drama within a legit nuevo tango dynamism. "Cancion" drips with molasses sensuality, as "Someone to Watch Over Me" yearningly begs for affirmation. This is the ultimate romantic statement, meant to be shared by two who care deeply for each other. Break out the candles and wine, as old man Valdes and sea evocateur Britos carry your heart and soul through the serene, peaceful, all-encompassing loving waves of life.

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