Posted on Jun 18, 2011

I was lucky this week to catch the great flautist/bandleader Orlando “Maraca” Valle and his Cuban based band on opening night this week at Yoshis in San Francisco. One thing that I love about Maraca is his sophisticated take on timba, cuban salsa and latin jazz…always modern and on the cutting edge with a strong foundation in traditional Afro-Cuban music. He is truly a musician’s musician who plays several instruments and has produced many recordings. Ever since the time that I first saw him at the famed New Morning in Paris with Irakere in 1990, Maraca always impresses with his sheer virtuosity on the flute, his chosen instrument. His clear musical direction as a solo artist and bandleader encompasses a variety of styles. For this tour, his excellent band of top notch musicians and charismatic vocalists includes the superb Alfred Thompson on sax. He had the Yoshi’s crowd mesmerized whether he led his band on an intense Latin Jazz number or a relentlessly swinging timba romp. I had an opportunity to speak to Maraca backstage after his exhilarating performance. He said that he has a new recording coming out in Cuba but also has plans to release another recording with his current band. If you didn’t have the chance to catch him this time, don’t miss him the next time because he is truly one of those artists who have to catch live!