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Virelles has in a short time become one of the most in-demand pianists in jazz, working in the bands of saxophonists Steve Coleman, Chris Potter, Ravi Coltrane, and Mark Turner. He will be appearing on upcoming releases with Potter and trumpeter Tomasz Stańko, both on ECM. Continuum is his second album as a leader and the first since moving to New York in 2009. Rather than focusing on the sort of bravura displays of pianism one might expect from a young pianist, the album is instead an episodic meditation on the power of Afro-Cuban folkloric traditions that fully reflects his open-minded interest in the confluence of music and other art forms. Born and raised in Cuba, the 29-year old Virelles grew up in a musical family: his father a singer-songwriter and his mother a flautist in the Santiago de Cuba Symphony. He started studying classical music at age seven, as well as being exposed to the large array of musical forms on the island. Virelles’ discovery of his grandfathers jazz record collection helped him become interested in that tradition. In 2001, he left for Canada as a protegé of reedist Jane Bunnett, who has a track record of identifying promising Cuban musicians. He recorded several albums with her, including two that were nominated for the Grammys. He is a graduate of the music program at Humber College in Toronto where he was the recipient of the first-ever Oscar Peterson Prize, which was presented to Virelles by Peterson himself. His debut release Motion came about as the result of his winning the Grand Prix de Jazz award at the 2006 Montreal Jazz Festival. He has studied privately with pianist Barry Harris and also sought out such iconoclastic musicians he admired as Steve Coleman, Henry Threadgill, Stanley Cowell, and Muhal Richard Abrams. In 2009, Virelles made the move to New York to study composition with Threadgill. Virelles says of these musicians: “I have always admired people who I consider to be individualistic in their artistic pursuits. There is no distinction between their art and their personalities and lifestyles; everything is consistent. With them, you cannot define where music making starts or ends because it is just part of their being, and they always seem to be exercising their creativity.”
Ambitious, epic and grand in scale, In The Country´s third album ”Whiteout” qualifies to be called their magnum opus.
The band's membership has remained pretty stable for the past few years, and the musical chemistry at work throughout No New Tunes is readily palpable.
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