Memories are what Manual Valera Sr.’s Recuerdos (Mavo Records, 2014) is all about. The program is rich with history, romance and rhythms of generations of Cubans.

The Grammy-winning Valera plays alto saxophone. His bandmates are son, Manuel Valera on piano; Hans Glawischnig on bass; Ludwig Afonso on drums and Mauricio Herrera on percussion.

“Si Me Comprendieras” is a laid-back, evening on a tropical beach piece. Valera Sr. and son each stretch out freely, getting into the moment with their respective instruments. One can visualize a moonlight gathering with some dancing on a makeshift floor while others watch the dancers and listen to the band while sipping on fruity cocktails.

The bass and drums figure prominently on the romantic “La Tarde.” Valera Sr.’s play is reminiscent of Paquito D’Rivera, in whose band Valera has been lead alto. The song is elegance personified. It's perfect for slow dancing. It’s also one of the longer pieces in the set at nearly eight minutes.

With the exception of Duke Ellington’s “Solitude,” all songs are Latin pieces that capture some element of the album’s theme. Among the songwriters whose works are rendered here: Jose Antonio Mendez, Sindo Garay, Manuel Corona and Felix Reina Aldana.

Valera Sr. has performed or recorded on more than 40 albums by a variety of artist, including Tito Puente, Dizzy Gillespie, Arturo Sandoval, Clark Terry, Michael Brecker and David Sanchez. Apart from playing with several bands in Cuba, he is credited with creating the first jazz saxophone quintet in that nation. He graduated with high honors from Amadeo Roldan Conservatory, where he studied saxophone, clarinet and flute. Recuerdos is his first recording as a leader.