Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Day 25: Danza de Los Gigantes

Nature or nurture? Hard work or luck? Your god given destiny or your ability to choose your own way? For most people, from the day you are born, you amble your way through life finding something that suits you. For a select few, it seems that perhaps their path was chosen for them. However agreeing to take it, is a whole 'nother thing.

Take the case of the Bonds' Family. The elder Bonds, Bobby; was a terrific player who played mostly for the SF Giants during the early part of his career which lasted from '68-74 and then for seven different teams in seven years thereafter. Known as the "30/30 guy" (30 Home Runs & 30 Stolen bases in one season), Bobby was an all around talent who went on to hit 30/30 a record five times and in both leagues as well. He was named the NL Player of the Year in 1973 by the Sporting News. He finished his career with a .268 avg, 332 HR's, and 1,024 RBI's.

After retiring Bobby turned to a career as hitting coach, bench coach and working in the front office mostly for the Giants. He was with the Giants in 1993, when his son Barry joined the team, and went on to legendary status becoming baseball's single season HR Champ (73) as well as the All-Time HR Champ (762). Together, they are baseball's most prodigious team as far as a a father-son combination in the statistics of HR, RBI, & SB's.

There are others famous bloodlines in baseball. The Griffeys (Ken Sr. and Ken Jr.), the Boone Family - who had three generations of ball players (Ray, Bob, and Bret), and the Bell Family (Gus, Buddy, and David) with three generations as well.

However, sometimes, the son (and grandson) of a famous player decides to take another path. In the baseball loving country of Cuba, a third generation of players found himself at the crossroads at a young age, and eventually stayed true to his family's roots. Only this time, the path chosen was to stay with playing music and not to stay playing baseball.

Born in Havana, Cuba, Jazz pianist, composer, and arranger, Chuchito Valdés, Jr. is a member of one of the most prolific Cuban jazz piano dynasties in history. With his grandfather, Bebo Valdés, and his father Chucho Valdés, Chuchito has helped to carry on their family's legendary musical name.

Growing up listening to Jazz music, and studying classical music, Chuchito abandoned music when he was in his early teens to go after another passion of his; baseball. He played for the Cuban National Team (in his age bracket), before he decided to return to music. In an article/interview on, he stated, "
My mother was the person who encouraged me to pursue a career as a musician. She told me that I had a gift for music, that I was a “natural.” Believe it or not, I started as a baseball player. . . but my mother always encouraged me to believe that I had options and that I didn’t have to stick to one thing."

From an article on the Jazz Police web site...

In the late 90s, Chuchito led the famed Cuban band Irakare, the band that heavily influenced him as a teenager. "I have to say that the first Irakere band is my favorite. I would go with my father every day to rehearsals and see how Arturo Sandoval and Paquito D'Rivera would practice their passages. I experienced a great innovation in Cuban music, and it's one of the best things that's happened to me,” says Chuchito.

Seeing as Chuchito followed in the steps of the Giants in the Latin / Jazz / Cuban Music genre, today's Baseball Song of the Day is: Danza de Los Gigantes (Dance of the Giants).

BSOD 25: Danza de Los Gigantes
Artist: Chuchito Valdés, Jr.
Album: Encantado
Released: February 2002

Links of interest:

No comments:


Bookmark and Share