Smooth jazz is the sound of sophistication, unlike rough jazz, which is the sound of Louis Armstrong blasting chili out of his trumpet. Lend your ear to upscale scales with this GrouponLive deal to see the Chucho Valdés Quartet at the Zeiterion Theatre in New Bedford. For $26, you get one ticket for reserved seating in the center-middle orchestra on Friday, November 30, at 8 p.m. (up to a $53 value, including all fees). Doors open at 7 p.m.
Now dubbed the "Dean of Latin Jazz," Chucho Valdés could play music before he could read. At age 3, he picked out radio melodies by ear on the piano, and at 15, he formed his first jazz trio. Decades later, the four-time Grammy Award winner from Cuba presides over the Chucho Valdés Quartet and one of the best-looking trophy cases in the world. While Valdés hammers the keys with uncanny speed that never leaves melody in the dust, his bandmates keep pace with horns and African-influenced beats. Each performance then serves as an aural journey around the family tree of Afro-Cuban music, touching on Yoruba bata drumming, a salsa version of "Stella By Starlight," and a reinterpretation of "Besame Mucho." After an infectious recent concert at Carnegie Hall, the New York Times praised his "dazzling, deceptively casual virtuosity" and "great hydraulic fountains of notes, each drop sparkling as it falls."
Past rows of seats covered in crimson, past a red carpet that brings out the auditorium's regality, past a centerpiece chandelier that dangles from the ceiling with the quiet grace of a toddler climbing out of her crib, is a stage. Upon this stage, the Zeiterion Theatre explores the performing arts, hosting national and international performers who enlighten the community to other cultures and inspire the younger population to actively participate in the arts. Every year, Zeiterion, lovingly known as "The Z," also provides 5,000 free tickets to children and families with low incomes, working to make arts more accessible to all.