Born: October 17, 1980 Primary Instrument: Piano
Cuban pianist, bandleader, composer and arranger, Manuel Valera is in the forefront of contemporary modern jazz. He represents the next generation of great performers and composers. His sound is fresh, inviting and evocative, and his goal is to forge innovative sounds that bring a vitality and newness to the idioms of jazz and Latin jazz. He is constantly workshopping musical ideas to develop new composition and arranging techniques that bring together Cuban, Puerto Rican, Brazilian and various jazz styles and forms.
His musical training started at an early age at Havana’s Manuel Saumell Conservatory where he originally studied classical saxophone. It wasn’t until emigrating to the United States in December 1994 when Valera switched to the piano. He began composing in 2000 while enrolled in the jazz program at the New School in New York where he studied, among others, with Reggie Workman, George Garzone, Jane Ira Bloom, Gerard D’Angelo and Richie Bierach....