When the young Valery Ponomarev heard the trumpeter Clifford Brown for the first time in his native Russia, on the “Voice of America” station, censored as it was by the Soviet regime for news items but not for music, he took one of the first most important decisions of his life; he undertook the task of transcribing and studying Browns music, adopting and owning Browns language and instrumental diction. The effort was huge, because apart from not receiving any teaching other than Brown's own music, the young trumpeter had to practise secretly, since “imperialist” music was not so well regarded by the authorities of the Soviet regime. Later on, he made another life changing decision and emigrated to the USA. It was clearly the right move to have made as Art Blakey, after listening to him secretly in a jam after a Jazz Messengers concert, invited him to join that legendary group, previously home to Clifford Brown, Lee Morgany, Wynton Marsalis and Freddie Hubbard.
Four years, many concerts and 11 albums later Valery embarked on a solo career which saw him playing with many of the great jazz figures. The brief career of Clifford Brown was halted by a fateful car accident in 1955, but nevertheless it has a continuity in his many worthy heirs, amongst whom Valery Ponomarev stands out.
It´s the third time that Valery has visited Castellón de la Plana, Spain. The first occasions were in the legendary Café del Mar in the early 90’s and this time he arrives to bring us a recording of a curated selection of standards in different styles. It’s a compendium of songs from his prolific career in his own uniquely eloquent and rich language. In the recording he shows his strongest influences from the depths of hard bop as in the fast "Have you met Miss Jones", "It's you or no one", "I should care”, all the way through to the mid-tempo “What's new” and “Chelsea Bridge” ending in a traditional blues of his own composition, “Blues for Two” and turning to Latin in “Star Eyes” and “Polkadots and Moonbeams” .
One to enjoy!