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Formed in the early 1970s, Irakere has been the single most important Cuban jazz band of contemporary times. Musical director and pianist Chucho Valdes is widely regarded as the greatest living Latin Jazz pianist, while legendary saxophone player Paquito D'Rivera and trumpeter Arturo Sandoval polished their chops with Irakere before defecting from Cuba. Combining Afro-Cuban folklore with Fusion, Bop and Salsa, the band has been at the vanguard of Latin Jazz since its inception, composing songs that have become standards and turning standards on their head with creative arrangements. A big band, Irakere feature a deep rhythm section anchored on the bass of Carlos del Puerto, the full range of Cuban drums and percussion, and at least four horns in the brass section. For decades they have toured internationally, playing prestigious jazz festivals. For years they were an annual feature at Ronnie Scott's club in London, where they made some of their finest recordings.
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