Harvey Valdes, is a NYC based guitarist, oud player, and composer. He is known for his exploration of the solo voice, adventurous take on harmony, and genre fluidity. His work spans Broadway, experimental theater, solo guitar, Middle Eastern music, popular styles, and film.
Harvey has released three albums of his own. On his solo album, Roundabout, he takes a pianistic approach to radically reshaping jazz standards with complex counterpoint and moments of spontaneous re-composition. All About Jazz praised, ”His approach is undeniably clever.”
The seven tracks on his second album, PointCounterPoint, are full of rhythmically driven contrapuntal action and intervallic writing. JAZZIZ Magazine writes, “Links between the Brooklyn-based Harvey Valdes Trio and McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra go beyond the dual frontline of distorted electric guitar and violin set to thundering drumbeats. They also include odd meters, jigsaw melodies, and a slashing fusion-like energy aimed at jolting listeners out of complacency.”
His third album of solo improvised guitar pieces, Solitude Intones Its Echo, is a mosaic of 18 melody-laced tracks which have a quality of concentrated intimacy. Guitarist and studio ace David Torn mixed and mastered the album and Guitar Moderne featured it as a Record Pick saying, “Valdes’ recording reveals him as a master of concision. His 18 short, lyrical, solo electric guitar performances of compelling compositions hook you and leave, well before wearing out their welcome.”
On Broadway, he held the guitar/oud chair for the 10 Tony and Grammy winning Broadway musical The Band’s Visit. In this role he also performed on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert, The Tony Awards, The Tonight Show and received an Emmy, along with the ensemble cast, for their performance on Good Morning America. He has also played on hit Broadway shows including The Book of Mormon, Come From Away, and Tootsie.
Other theater work includes the European and U.S. tour with experimental theater The Wooster Group for their production of Francesco Cavalli’s 1641 opera La Didone, playing electric guitar and guitar synth.
His score for Utopians, which premiered at the 2011 Berlin Film Festival, constituted “one of the longest-lasting guitar improvisations since [Neil Young’s score for] Dead Man.” He has also composed music for the award winning short film, Talking Piece, and the forthcoming We Got This.
As a sideman he has performed in a wide range of styles at venues from Lincoln Center to the Stone with artists including Alan Chan Big Band, Rhys Chatham’s A Crimson Grail, Karl Berger’s Improvisor’s Orchestra, Butch Morris NuBlu Orchestra, Harel Shachal and Anistar, Sean Sonderegger's Magically Inclined, Vlada Tomova’s Balkan Tales, and others.
My new solo guitar album is available via Destiny Records here: Destiny Records Bandcamp
Solitude Intones Its Echo
A guitarist of searching, sophisticated musicality, the Brooklyn-based Harvey Valdes releases his third album, Solitude Intones Its Echo, via Destiny Records. The album, available on vinyl and digital/streaming, features Harvey communing with his electric six-string Teuffel Tesla guitar for a collection of concise, engaging solo improvisations. A mosaic of 18 melody-laced pieces, most around two minutes in length, the record has a concentrated, questing quality; sage guitarist and studio ace David Torn mixed and mastered Solitude Intones Its Echo, heightening its atmosphere of contrapuntal introspection. The new album follows Harvey’s solo debut of free takes on jazz standards (Roundabout, 2015) and a bristling, Mahavishnu-meets-math-rock trio album (Pointcounterpoint, with violinist Sana Nagano and drummer Joe Hertenstein, 2016). All About Jazz hailed Pointcounterpoint as “cosmic,” while the Free Jazz Collective described Roundabout as “sublimely beautiful.”