"Chucho is from Cuba, and he is a classically-trained pianist who has had a life-long career in Afro-Cuban jazz. And he's very well known."
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Chucho Valdes
WHERE: The Laurie Auditorium
WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday
Arts San Antonio is entity bringing Valdes here. Erle thinks Valdes’s combination of musical styles is what makes his music more accessible.
"As a great pianist he blends classical music with percussion and Afro-Cuban music influences that have really set him apart from other jazz musicians," he said.
Erle said Valdes isn't performing here as a solo act.
"This group is him plus a trio, really focuses on the bata drum, which is an hourglass-shaped drum," he said.
One of the more objective ways to measure a musician's quality is whether or not they win Grammy Awards. Valdes has earned his share.
"Yes, six Grammys. Three Latin Grammy Awards. They speak for themselves," Erle said.
In total, Valdes had been nominated eleven times.
"Yes, like I said, he is world class,” he said. “He is exactly the kind of artist we like bringing to the community.”
Valdes’s earliest Grammy win was 1979, but his most recent was 2016. Erle said he's not done yet.
"Back in November he received a lifetime achievement award from the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences,” he said. “Not only are they commemorating his career but he's not stopping. He has other projects that are coming up."