Dafnis Prieto

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Dafnis Prieto...
His arrival in the U.S. has been compared by to that of an asteroid hitting New York. Indeed, within a short period of time Dafnis Prieto's revolutionary drumming techniques had a powerful impact on both the Latin and jazz music scene, locally and internationally. Having studied at the school of Fine Arts in Santa Clara as a youngster and later at the National School of Music in Havana, Prieto obtained a thorough classical education while broadening his knowledge of Afro-Cuban music, jazz and world music outside of the academy.

He first toured Europe with pianists Carlos Maza and Ramon Valle and the groundbreaking group “Columna B.” A resident of New York since only 1999, he has already played in bands led by Henry Threadgill, Steve Coleman, Eddie Palmieri, Chico and Arturo O'Farrill, Dave Samuels & The Caribbean Jazz Project, Jane Bunnett, D.D. Jackson, Edward Simon, Michel Camilo, Chucho Valdez, Claudia Acuña, Roy Hargrove, Don Byron, and Andrew Hill, among others.

He has performed at many national and international music festivals as a sideman and as bandleader.

As a composer, he has created music for dance, film, chamber ensembles, and most notably for his own bands, ranging from duets to his “Small Big Band” and including the distinctively different groups featured on his two acclaimed recordings as a leader, “About The Monks,” and “Absolute Quintet.” He has received new works commissions, grants, and fellowships from Chamber Music America, Jazz at Lincoln Center, East Carolina University, and Meet the Composer. Various awards include “Up & Coming Musician of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association in 2006, a Grammy Award Nomination for ”Absolute Quintet” as Best Latin Jazz Album, and a Latin Grammy Nomination for “Best New Artist” in 2007. Also a gifted educator, Prieto has conducted numerous master classes, clinics, and workshops.

Since 2005, he has been a member of the NYU Music Faculty.

A new CD, entitled “Taking the Soul for a Walk” and featuring a sextet, will be released in
May 2008.

All About Jazz:
“Dafnis Prieto is easily the most impressive young drummer to come on the jazz scene during the past decade. Possessing awesome virtuosity and astonishing versatility, Prieto has made important contributions to the music of a broad range of leaders… His compositions are elaborate composites melding Afro-Cuban rhythms and modern jazz harmonies into music that is ecstatic and intelligent.”

The New York Times:
"The essence of Mr. Prieto’s style is his collation of various Afro-Cuban percussion sounds - from old religious music to modern music - within one set of trap drums. His playing is infernally complicated, and infernally precise; the blizzard of accents he throws into any pattern have their place as surely as pixels in a computer image.”

Eddie Palmieri:
“He is extraordinary, a rhythmic stimulus. He comprehends the two most incredibly difficult rhythmic genres: being Cuban and being an extremely talented jazz drummer.”





© Peter Erskine



SI O SI (excerpt...)
from the album:
Live At Jazz Standard NYC

Two time Grammy nominee Dafnis Prieto continues to articulate his singular vision as a bandleader, drummer and composer with his newest album, recorded live at New York's Jazz Standard last March. Comprised by the nucleus of the sextet that Prieto has been leading over the past two years, his Si o Si (Yes or Yes) Quartet features longtime collaborators Manuel Valera on piano, Charles Flores on bass and Peter Apfelbaum on saxophones and percussion.




Si o Si Quartet : Peter Apfelbaum, Dafnis Prieto, Manuel Valera & Charles Flores







Dafnis Prieto demonstrates one more time his capability as a leader with an strong musical vision and a fresh sounding band - one of the Best Contemporany Latin Jazz Album

“This music has a very emotional meaning. It is is a journey to all of the emotions evoked by the Titles of the 12 tracks. I have experienced these emotions as most of us probably have, and this music is flying through our ears before it touches infinity and disappears.” – Dafnis Prieto, February 2008




NAMM 2008
© Ronn Dunnett







from Dafnis Prietos Album:
"Absolute Quintet"


from Dafnis Prietos Album:

"About the Monks"

















performed with:

Jane Bunnett & Spirit of Havana
Steve Coleman & Five Elements
Henry Threadgill
Eddie Palmieri Afro-Caribbean Jazz Orchestra
Chico O'Farril & The Afro-Cuban Big Band
Dave Samuels
Peter Apfelbaum
DD Jackson Trio
Ed Simon Trio
Michel Camilo Trio.
Chucho Valdez Quartet.
Andrew Hill
John Benitez
Jorge Sylvester
Claudia Acuna
Don Byron
Kip Hanrahan
Roy Hargroves
Branford Marsalis
Herbie Hancock
Arturo Sandoval

....and many more
















































© Martin Cohen





© Martin Cohen














© Ben Long








NAMM 2008



Dafnis Prieto -Bernhard (Drummerworld)
NAMM 2008