2013 Grammy-nominated pianist and composer Manuel Valera is a 34-year-old powerhouse who has taken New York by storm since relocating there from his native Cuba in 2000. Having worked with many of today's finest artists in the genre of Afro Cuban jazz, Valera made his Criss Cross debut on Brian Lynch's Conclave Vol. 2 (CRC 1331). Valera's maiden voyage for Criss Cross features his band, New Cuban Express,
on a selection of originals that cover a good deal of ground, touching on both Latin and swing sensibilities.
Yosvany Terry on alto sax, Tom Guarna on guitar and Alex Sipiagin on trumpet make strong statements, while Valera tastefully uses the Fender Rhodes to add new colors to the ensemble mix. Bassist is Hans Glawischnig, on drums Ludwig Alfonso, and Mauricio Herrera on percussion.