London: Cuban-born musician Bebo Valdes, a respected figure in the Afro-Cuban jazz genre, died Friday in Sweden, sources close to the artist told EFE. He was 94.
Valdes had been living in Malaga, Spain, but he travelled two weeks ago to Sweden, where some of his children reside, due to worsening health as he struggled with Alzheimer’s, they said.
The pianist, composer, arranger and band leader, born in 1918 in the western Cuban town of Quivican, was the father of another leading Latin jazz artist, Chucho Valdes.
He also will go down in history for the award-winning 2002 album “Lagrimas negras”, which was recorded with Spanish singer Diego El Cigala and fused Cuban rhythms and flamenco vocals.
His recording career is marked by two distinct stages: one in 1940s and 1950s Cuba at the head of the big band Sabor de Cuba and another that began in the mid-1990s many years after he had left the island and eventually settled in Stockholm.
Valdes ended his 30-year artistic silence in 1995 with the Afro-Cuban jazz album “Bebo Rides Again” and went on to enjoy a renaissance thanks to records such as the 2001 CD “El Arte del Sabor” and his collaborations with Spanish filmmaker Fernando Trueba.