Manuel Valera (born October 17, 1980) is a Cuban pianist and composer.
Ken Spellman interviews pianist Manuel Valera.
Graduated from South Broward High School, Hollywood, FL. Valera was born in Havana, Cuba. Since 2000 he has lived in New York City, where he attended New School University. His playing is influenced by Bill Evans, Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett, and he has worked extensively in the groups of Dafnis Prieto, Arturo Sandoval, Paquito D’Rivera, Brian Lynch, Yosvany Terry, Jeff “Tain” Watts and Lenny White. Valera’s first CD as a leader Forma Nueva was released in 2004. It features bassist John Patitucci, drummers Bill Stewart and Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez and saxophonist Seamus Blake. Historia, Melancolia and Vientos were released between 2005–2007, featuring drummers Antonio Sanchez and Ernesto Simpson, saxophonist Seamus Blake and Joel Frahm, bassists Ben Street and James Genus and percussionist Luis Quintero. 2009 marked the release of Currents, a trio recording with Genus and Simpson and it was also Valera’s debut on the Maxjazz label. After a hiatus as a leader, to focus on sideman work, in 2012 Valera released New Cuban Express with Yosvany Terry on saxophone, John Benitez on bass, Tom Guarna on guitar, Eric Doob on drums, and percussionist Mauricio Herrera.
This recording earned him a nomination for a 2013 Grammy Award in the category “Best Latin Jazz Album”.