“[Prieto] has transformed Afro-Cuban rhythms. . . . These pieces are emotionally charged and stylistically diverse, carried along not just by rhythm but also through lovely harmonized passages, horn fanfares, and powerfully conjured moods.” —Wall Street Journal
Born and trained in Cuba, Dafnis Prieto is a drum virtuoso, a masterful composer, and a rising star on the international jazz scene. His driving, mesmerizing music, which twists folk motifs into next-generation Latin jazz, is widely respected for its sophistication, its structural and harmonic complexity, and its polyrhythmic punch. Walker Art Center and Northrop Music at the University of Minnesota present the Dafnis Prieto Sextet on Saturday, November 21, at 8 pm in the Walker’s William and Nadine McGuire Theater. Prieto’s accomplished sextet includes Peter Apfelbaum (sax), Ralph Alessi (trumpet), Felipe Lamoglia (sax), Manuel Valera (piano), and Charles Flores (bass). As a special component to the concert, Trisha Brown Dance Company member Judith Sanchez Ruiz will perform a short dance/percussion duet with Prieto.
Within a short period of time Prieto’s revolutionary drumming techniques have had a powerful impact on both the Latin and jazz music scenes. Having studied at the school of Fine Arts in Santa Clara as a youngster and later at the National School of Music in Havana, he 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 1999, Prieto 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.
As a composer, Prieto 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 three acclaimed recordings—About the Monks, Absolute Quintet, and Taking the Soul for a Walk. He has received commissions for new works, 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. He composed the title track for the Grammy-winning album Song for Chico by Arturo O’Farril and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra in 2008. A gifted educator, Prieto has conducted numerous master classes, clinics, and workshops. Since 2005, he has been a member of the NYU Music Faculty.
Tickets to Dafnis Prieto are: $29 ($25 Walker and Northrop members) and are available at walkerart.org/tickets or by calling 612.375.7600. The Balcony Bar will be open at 7 pm and after the performance.