“Valle is a more open, overly emotional piano – trio master than Brad Meldhau. Mcoy Tyner and Chick Corea are the musicians who come to mind as comparisons. He is a formidably sophisticated player rooted in Cuban jazz, but drawing on resources way beyond the usual suspects the idiom usually calls up.”
THE GUARDIAN, LONDON
“Valle is equally adept at intensely swinging like Oscar Peterson – but with a groove that reflects the syncopation of the Afro-Cuban clave-playing pop music or reveling in the island’s many traditional rhythms. And like any of the pianists who record for ECM, Valle can draw the curtain down around himself and play powerfully introspective music.”
“Technical virtuosity and a unique improvisational style deeply influenced by his love for classical music and his Cuban heritage are the ingredients of this young piano player.”
– JAZZIZ MAGAZINE USA
Although pianist Ramón Valle (who contributed all 11 selections), bassist Omar Rodríguez Calvo, and drummer Liber Torriente were all born originally in Cuba and are masterful with polyrhythms, the music that they perform on No Escapeis more post-bop jazz than it is Latin or Afro-Cuban jazz. Valle's style recalls Herbie Hancock of the 1960s at times, although it is fairly original. Working closely with his sidemen, Valle performs pieces that are often dark, complex, and a bit dissonant but not without their lighthearted moments. Of these, "El Vigia" is an inventive jazz waltz, the lengthy "Andar por Dentro" sounds mysterious, and "Brindemos" swings hard in its fashion. None of these originals are destined to become standards, but they certainly do challenge the musicians, who somehow often sound as one, following each other telepathically and creating stirring music.
– Scott Yanow, ALLMUSIC
Before the Cuban revolution, U.S. jazz musicians would regularly play the island's hotels and casinos for the tourists. After hours the Cuban and American musicians would converge on a handful of small clubs for jam sessions. This is where the Cubans could meet and learn from their idols, and U.S. musicians could soak up the local rhythmic lingo.Ramon Valle is a direct descendant of those after-hours descargas. A graduate of the National School of the Arts in Havana, Valle is equally adept at intensely swinging like Oscar Peterson-but with a groove that reflects the syncopation of the Afro-Cuban clave-playing pop music or reveling in the island's many traditional rhythms. And like any of the pianists who record for ECM, Valle can draw the curtain down around himself and play powerfully introspective music.Bassist Omar Rodriguez Calvo and drummer Liber Torriente have to be able to swing, play with an avant-garde bite or approximate the energy of a traditional bata drummers' circle. They do so flawlessly on the CD's 11 tracks.
– Felix Contreras, JAZZTIMES on Ramon Valle Trio No Escape.
Valle is a more open, overtly emotional piano-trio master than Brad Mehldau: McCoy Tyner and Chick Corea are the musicians who come to mind as comparisons. He is a formidably sophisticated player rooted in Cuban jazz, but drawing on resources way beyond the usual suspects the idiom usually calls up.
This is a fine ensemble performance for Valle and his two partners - Omar Rodriguez Calvo on bass and Liber Torriente on drums - with the sound of the bass more lovingly absorbed into the mix than Larry Grenadier is with Mehldau. Calvo's warm and luxurious sound is given considerable presence here, and the group sounds as close and responsive in its way as Mehldau's does. All the pieces are Valle originals, and they bustle and chatter with a heated, dancing, street-scene vivacity.
Some songs have a pungent Spanish flavour, some have a poignant, love-song simplicity (though in the case of Andar Por Dentro with a dark, tolling menace beneath). Some crackle with percussion and staccato alternations of dense melody and headlong swing; there's an effervescent broken-tempo blues, a stealthy, harmonicallymobile samba, and some bursts of free improvisation that even stray into the stormy waters of Cecil Taylor. For once, this is an album that represents a talented band quite a lot better than its live show did.
– John Fordham, The Guardian on Thursday, Feb 19, 2004 on Ramon Valle No Escape
44 Voll-Damm Barcelona Jazz Festival: Francesco Tristano, Ramon Valle Trio with Jesse Van Ruller and Fred Hersch
– JOAN FARGAS, ALLABOUTJAZZ Published: November 19, 2012
44 Voll-Damm International Jazz Festival of Barcelona L'Auditori-Hall 2
October 31, 2012
The young pianist Francesco Tristano was commissioned to open the cycle Barcelona Jazz Festival called Clàssics in the chamber hall of L ' Auditorium. A declaration of principles without bias an interesting cycle that opens the door to proposals that pass through the relationship between jazz and classical music. Knowing his background, the audience attending the concert willing to get sucked into the boundless energy and creativity a young musician who has recorded two albums with Deutsche Grammophon mixing quite naturally (in recordings and concerts) Bach, Cage and between electronic creations, contemporary music and improvisation. Tristano raised an evening in which electronic mainly linked with virtually no breaks, several original compositions, including a tribute to Monk - "Midnight 'Round" - special premiere for the occasion. using, in addition to the Steinway, computer, sampler , pedals and keyboard, pianist based in Barcelona built Luxembourg broad themes, with a great deal of repetition and stubborn, leading to a peak in the chamber hall became a particularly rave with the public still and absolutely silent. Contrast to some provocative perspective that breaks in the artist's usual line, the boundaries and barriers between styles, conventions and rituals related to music. With his hit "The Melody" ( Not for piano , Infine 2007), which have published several versions and remixes, the concert came out on top. Introduction to piano solo that has been extended to the entrance effects relentless sampler lying low on the basis of the theme that flooded the room full of energy and rhythm. Also noteworthy improvisations, mostly from the Yamaha XF8, who brought freshness and lightness to his consistent and energetic speech. At the end of the concert Tristano linked, leaving no room for applause, the 32 partitas the aria La Capricciosa Baroque composer Dietrich Buxtehude, including in his last recording ( Long Walk , Deutsche Grammophon 2012). Only with the piano, occasionally supported by some effect, skillfully reeled music, it seems, inspired Bach to compose the Goldberg Variations . A pause, with travel time included, then to resume its electronic version showing the links between different music spanning his unique and eclectic artistic proposal. 's public insistence ovation and two encores started, including classic Derrick May " Strings of Life "( Not for piano , Infine 2007). At the end the audience left the room stunned, waking from an intense journey without pause of nearly two hours. Ramon Valle Trio with Jesse Van Ruller 44 Voll-Damm International Jazz Festival of Barcelona Gas Light November 2, 2012 Ramon Valley , Cuban pianist based in Amsterdam, the city revisited its European debut (Jamboree Jazz Club, 1995), within the jazz festival program. Valley concert focused on themes from his latest CD Flashes from Holland (SVR Music, 2011) with little stories describing everyday reality of adaptation and coexistence in Dutch society. Taking the challenge of telling through music, complex process for all immigrants to feel lost to be able to "understand and who understand" in a culture other than their own. On this particular trip, personal descriptive accompanied the pianist and composer bassist Omar Rodriguez Calvo , regular sparring partner Valle, drummer Julio Barreto and prolific Dutch guitarist Jesse van Ruller , guest starred on the project and the only non-Cuban night. The physical and rhythmic speech contrasted with input Valley Van Ruller, more cold and distant while technically flawless. Forced and dizzying unison solos flowed into long and elaborate, perfectly tucked behind Rodriguez and Barreto, giving a swift and forceful drive to almost the entire concert. The ballad "Dayla" (dedicated to his relationship with his daughter two years and a half) gave, for a moment, more prominence to the melody and spaces, showing a more lyrical side of the pianist. Another completely different register was "Van Gogh Letters," inspired by the correspondence between the Dutch painter and his brother in this piece reflects the complexity Valley artist and fraternal relationship with the contrast of the poetic and melodic beauty with confusion more dense and cluttered, chaotic moments. After "A Cuban Lost," more Cuban composition of the night, closed the evening the cheerful "Amsterdam Party Time," which, funk and swing alternating fragments showed until the last sigh the proposed power Valle and his team. Fred Hersch 44 Voll-Damm International Jazz Festival of Barcelona Liceu Conservatory November 8, 2012 A storm of snow and wind in New York forced the cancellation of flights and prevented the trio Fred Hersch Barcelona present their new album, Alive at the Vanguard (Palmetto, 2012), as announced in the festival program. The incident opened the possibility that Hersch, that contrary to his rhythm section had come ahead to Barcelona to do a master class in the same Liceu Conservatory, made a solo piano performance.
That among the audience in the hall of the Liceu were many musicians of different generations input justified the title of small cycle Mestres (masters) that was included in the show, and demonstrated the expectation among professionals to see the master teacher in action . Hersch built the concert on its own repertoire that showed his undeniable quality as a composer and performer. Without artifice, conveying sincerity and fullness, generated from the first note a climax delicate and nuanced that dazzled the audience. The concert was full of magical moments as "Pastorale" ( Alone at the Vanguard , Palmetto 2011) dedicated to the music of Schumann, to pluck one of the more senses applause of the night. At the end of the concert there was time for some standards such as Embraceable You Gershwin or medley with The Song is You & Played Twice disk that is part of the trio that, a priori, is presented that night. As last encore, Hersch played Valentine , a beautiful ballad that was the perfect icing for a memorable evening. The audience left the auditorium with the feeling of having enjoyed one of the jewels of this festival, a concert gorgeous, full of sensitivity and intensity. Bad weather in New York, at the end of the day, provided the luck in Barcelona to enjoy one of the masters of jazz piano XXI century in the privacy of one. We hope that, as proposed by Hersch himself at the beginning of the concert, next year can delight your audience Barcelona in threesome.
No Escape by Ramón Valle – Turiya Mareya, JAZZREVIEW on 8/8/2003
Pianist Ramón Valle’s first concern as a Jazz artist has been to find his own voice. He is now at the place where he feels he has done that and his concern has moved to expanding his musical language and reaching for higher levels of expression. Although he was raised in Cuba and received the extraordinary classical training which Cuban musicians are known for, American Jazz was not a foreign music to him. His father played trumpet and loved Jazz and owned recordings by such artists as Gerry Mulligan and Dizzy. There were Jam sessions at his home-descargas with Cuban percussion and jazz inspired solos. There was also a Cuban Jazz show on the radio nightly and a USA station that came in and out. Ramónwould hear a few bars of music, then the sound would fade leaving him to complete the musical phrases in his imagination. The traditional music of his homeland was omnipresent and absorbed daily in the air, the voices, the life all around him. His Mother sang, loved poetry and insured that he and his five sisters -all of whom also play music -studied hard, practiced and pursued their musical studies with discipline and dedication.
The title of his latest CD " No Escape" came from producer Siegfried Loch who said the Ramón’s music held you captive and enthralled and once in the grip there was no escape. I experienced this at a Madrid Jam Session where he played on a recent visit. He came to the bandstand and from the first note it was obvious that something different, almost from another dimension was happening and I witnessed an audience held captive, dumbfounded and amazed at what they were hearing.With his beatific smile and warm engaging manner he beguiled the other musicians on the stand into following him into a spacious, flowing yet eclectic expression as he deconstructed the standards "All the Things You Are’ and ‘Lover Man.’
In his trio with fellow Cubans - Bassist Omar Rodriguez Calvo and drummer LiberTorriente - they are seeking to find and express their personal group voice and redefine what Latin Jazz could be with expanded parameters, by creating an interplay of conversation in which the basic rhythm and harmonies are felt and used as an internal source for new directions. The trio has been playing together for 7 years and know each other intimately functioning together as one cohesive unit comprised of 3 strong musical personalities. These are musicians who have thoroughly absorbed and internalized the language and sensibilities of jazz. Their Cuban musical heritage is alive in their bones, breath and blood but not implicitly stated. This is the latest direction of Cuban Jazz that is setting new standards and directions. They are so passionately committed to the continued evolution of this sound that when not actually playing they are endlessly talking about the music and how to keep it fresh, alive and growing. These are young artists in full command of their technical and artistic development and ready to follow where the music is leading them and conscious of both their command of their art and of the place where they surrender all control and allow the music to breathe and go its own course free from preconceptions and expectations.
The music of No Escape is all original and composed by Ramón Valle who in his compositional process first hears the melody and then sees it as a shape, finally allowing it to incubate until it emerges as a complete piece.
The first cut "El Vigia", refers to someone who watches at the border and is a metaphor for fathers who watch over their children and try to protect them from any dangers that may lie in their path. It is a lilting waltz, which makes masterful use of dynamics and colors emphasizing group interplay using a deceptively simple thematic device that is developed with subtle intensity. It is a beautiful example of the conversational aspect of the musical aesthetic than Valle espouses for his trial work.
‘De Vuelta Casa’, is an expression of the joy of returning home, well known to all travelers and immigrants. It is taken at a brisk tempo though the light deft touch of drummer Torriente makes the time seem to float. Emerging from the sophisticated harmonies is the suggestion of a montuno, which dissolves back into bubbling dancing rhythmic flow. Bassist Omar Rodríguez emerges at one point from the flow, as a lead voice in the conversation which is responded to by Valle in a 21st century version of call and response, showing that a music on the cutting edge of harmonic sophistication can still retain African roots by virtue of sensibility and point of reference. Alive in Valle’s musical voice is the spirituality of his mother who carries in her blood the voices of her Yoruba ancestors. The African sensibilities can also be heard in the drums of Torriente which unlike the traditional swing feel- which seems to be in route on a highway- he create a percussive environment where we are already there, just exploring and enjoying being in the eternal moment, which is a profoundly African musical quality.
"Forty Degrees" (centigrade) is about heat and burns with a strong open rhythm embellished with Arabic and Spanish scales structures. The group demonstrates an almost telepathic group interaction as a simple repeated bass figure is deconstructed and permuted and used as the basis for improvisation with a series of rhythmic breaks. The whole piece, as is all of Valle’s work, is highly reminiscent of Bud Powell And Elmo Hope.
"Vivo Coltrane" was created live in the studio during the recording session. The Producer played Coltrane’s "Ole" for Valle, which he had not previously heard.Using that as a basis the group took the 6/8 rhythms and the melodic idea to create freely an interpretation, which is meditative and illustrates the musical oneness created by 7 years of collaboration. Improvisation can be compared to lovemaking which done right requires deep surrender and sensitivity to your partner. If that metaphor holds here this sounds like lovers who know each other’s bodies so well they can relax completely into the dance of love.
"Andar Por Dentro" (literally Walk Inside) is a ballad about the fact that we all have our cross to bear and even those who appear happy can be carrying a deep sadness inside. For Ramón Valle, that sadness he carries in the midst of an otherwise happy and fulfilling life is the pain of being so far from his home and his beloved family in Cuba. He tells us that sometimes pain demands our presence and all we can do is walk inside and be there with it, experiencing it fully. This contemplative expression is made on top of a bass pedal tone and while the time is there, it is felt more as a heartbeat pulse. Ramón Valle through his composition allows us to take this journey, to walk inside ourselves and embrace our pain and the ultimate irony and paradox of life, it’s essentially bittersweet quality, the knowledge that joy and pain are interdependent.
"Illegal" was written in response to Valle’s experience of living for a short time inHolland without residence papers. Although now he holds Dutch citizenship, he remembers the vulnerability of that situation. The expression is made in a free Jazz Format, although the freedom is only possible because of intense discipline and focus,and is an improvisation on the highly composed rhythmic structures at the beginning and end. This has a dark serious quality evoking the urban streets and stark inescapable realities.
Ramon Valle feels strongly that life without risk will yield little fruit. He states that in order to fly you have to jump off the cliff. In his life and music he has dared and challenged himself to take his art to the next level. "No Escape" is also about his personal mission to recreate Latin Jazz and continue to grow and evolve as an artist,and from that compulsion, he also has "No Escape".