For The Ones… - Yelfris Valdés (Rapid Review)
Released: 4 October 2019
Album Rating: 4.5/5
Favourite Track: 'After Sly' (track 9)
Cuban-born London-based trumpet player Yelfris Valdés has released his debut album For The Ones… on the freshly formed Música Macondo Records. It is the labels inaugural release. Following the success of his first solo EP The World of Eshu Dina, the trumpeter has tapped into a variety of inspirations to create a stunning debut album.
The trumpeter spent ten years with the GRAMMY-nominated Cuban band Sierra Maestra before moving to London. His notorious playing has led him to play and record with an impressive list of names, including Yussef Kamaal, producer Quantic, Mobo award-winning drummer Moses Boyd and MC Kano amongst others. Gaining inspiration from artists like Aphex Twin and Bonobo, For The Ones sees the trumpeter experiment with his graceful playing by adding electronic elements to create bold cosmic soundscapes.
With For The Ones, Yelfris has been able to mould these electronic influences with Afro Cuban rhythms and Yoruban shamanic chants to create powerful and emotive music. The first thing we hear on the record is Yelfris’s acapella chants on “Canto Congo”, setting the tone for the album. From the record’s opening moments, Yelfris’s raw and stirring singing transfers into all elements of his playing, providing a full and rich tone as he shy’s away from gimmicks or unnecessary tricks. What is also notable is that his trumpet playing does not hide behind his use of electronics which some musicians do. Instead, Yelfris uses these electronic sounds to add an extra dimension to his playing. Throughout the record, Yelfris’s band are perfectly in balance, particularly with the addition of the guembri playing of Simo Lagnawi, the vocals of Senegalese singer Modou Touré and the spoken words of Carmen Martorell. This fitting group of musicians help create the perfect setting for Yelfris’s vision and creation of trance-like spatial sounds.
For the Ones is an incredibly memorable debut album from the Cuban trumpeter. It is fresh, energetic, exuberant and adventurous. Yelfris Valdés’s impassioned and powerful playing rings true, as he creates truly a spiritual experience.
Yelfris Valdés will be launching For The Ones... at the Jazz Café (London) on Thursday 10th October. You can find out more here:
You can purchase and listen to For the Ones here:
You can keep up-to-date with Yelfris Valdés via his website and socials:
For the Ones Album Personnel:
Yelfris Valdés: Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Vocals (Tracks 1, 5 and 9) Al Macsween: Electric Piano Sylvain Couesmes: Beat Maker, Producer Josh Barber: Bass Ernesto Marichales: Percussion Dario Congedo: Drums Carmen Martorell: Spoken Word (Track 10) Modou Touré: Vocals (Tracks 6 and 8) Simo Lagnawi: Vocals, Guembri, Qraqeb (Track 3)