“Take Off” really makes the case for Valle and his trio. He hits his notes with such clarity and strings them together so well, he makes the piano sing. Valle keeps it crisp with percolating drums and bass at his back. “Take Off” knocks me out. – NPR “FRESH AIR”
“Valle is a bundle of energy! On “Take Off,” the Cuban pianist returns to a trio formation with compatriots Omar Rodriguez Calvo on bass and Ernesto Simpson on drums. The deluxe version’s DVD with a live studio audience is particularly recommended because of Valle’s entertaining way of telling his studio audience about the tracks. With his classical training, Cuban background and harmonic inventiveness, he even manages to introduce rhythmic excitement into Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah.’” – JAZZISM
“Valle is a more open, overly emotional piano trio master than Brad Meldhau. Mcoy Tyner and Chick Corea are musicians who come to mind as comparisons. He’s a formidably sophisticated player rooted in Cuban jazz, but drawing on resources way beyond the usual suspects the idiom usually calls up.” – THE GUARDIAN
Valle is equally adept at intensely swinging like Oscar Peterson – but with a groove that reflects the syncopation of Afro-Cuban music or revels in the island’s traditional rhythms. And like the pianists who record for ECM, Valle can draw the curtain down around himself and play powerfully introspective music.” - JAZZTIMES
“Technical virtuosity and a unique improvisational style deeply influenced by his love for classical music and his Cuban heritage are the ingredients of this young piano player.” – JAZZIZ MAGAZINE
“Unlike other Cuban colleagues whose clave playing is almost cliched, Ramon Valle approaches the music through melody. The new album is set apart by significantly arranged versions of very different composers. Music is life, breath, the pause and the song. When Ramon Valle composes and performs, it sings within him. He lets us hear another side of Cuban Jazz and shows his smiling, lyrical and elegant side.” – JAZZTHETIK
Ramon Valle is an exceptional talent. The first sound on the Cuban pianist’s new disc is a solo piano introduction to “All The Things You Are,” a percussive piece of quasi-stride piano, showcasing his dexterous arrangement aesthetic. He is Monk-like in his forceful attack, and his introduction carries a hot kinetic energy through the tune and his band gives each tune movement and a grooving pulse. Valle is best when his playing sounds a bit manic, dancing on the edge of catastrophe. Take Off includes extended DVD performances of the tunes recorded with a live studio audience; Valle introduces each piece in a pre-recorded documentary, which is effortlessly thrilling. – DOWNBEAT
Ramón Valle has lived in Amsterdam since 1997 but was Cuban born where he is regarded as the biggest piano talent of his generation. He is now a celebrity.
His new CD, Take off, is a compelling album. This is a keyboard virtuoso whose technical capacities seem infinite and he’s a real South American, as evidenced by his percussive approach. He demonstrates his enormous musicality both in his own story-like compositions, in standards, All the Things You Are and What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life, and pop classics as Stevie Wonder’s Es una historia and Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. Right from the opening number, there is a veritable explosion of pleasure and the trio is off at a gallop. It is only on the fifth track, ‘Hallelujah’, that the tempo switches to a ballad – a wonderfully rendered homage to the deceased musician, Santiago Feliú.
Take Off made use of acclaimed producer, Suzi Reynolds, for the recording. Her influence on Vallé’s choice of numbers is so favorable that it has become Vallé’s best album. A DVD included in the Deluxe Edition clearly reflects the intensity with which these gifted musicians play. - PIANO WORLD
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