The incredibly gifted Puerto Rican pianist, Irma Vallecillo (“Ear-ma Vaiya-seeyo”), got on my radar with the insistence of Max Wilcox. “Dick, you are going to be crazy about this musician, trust me.” As usual, he was right. I soon began asking her to join me on recital tours. She was not only brilliant. She was also fearless. She took on new music both ferocious in technique and friendly in jazz style. She confessed that Benny Goodman had asked her to join him in exploratory readings at his home in Connecticut. She joined me for my first Carnegie Hall recital. Amber Waves (CD #33 in the boxed set) probably would not have happened without Irma’s consummate authority in the disparate stylistic challenges I handed her.
copyright Richard Stoltzman