Film Launch! Dafnis Prieto 'Regresar: Back in Cuba'

In January 2019, drummer, composer, and educator Dafnis Prieto returned to his native Cuba to perform his music on the island for the first time in 20 years.

Emmy-nominated filmmaker Saleem Reshamwala (KidEthnic) joined to document this historic and emotional moment for the short film, Regresar: Back in Cuba.

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A Film by Saleem Reshamwala / KidEthnic

Executive Producer: Lindsay Evans

Assistant Producers: Joe Morra, Kyung Yoon

Music by Dafnis Prieto (Dafnison Music/BMI)
from the 2018 GRAMMY-winning Dafnis Prieto Big Band album 'Back to the Sunset': 'The Triumphant Journey', 'Una Vez Más'

from the 2015 Dafnis Prieto Sextet album 'Triangles and Circles': 'Back and Forth', 'Triangles and Circles'

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From January 11-18, 2019, GRAMMY-winning Cuban-born drummer, composer, and educator Dafnis Prieto made an historic and emotional return to his native Cuba to perform his own music on the island for the first time since settling in the United States 20 years ago in 1999. Prieto made two headlining performances at the International Jazz Plaza Festival in Havana, one with his Sextet on Thursday, January 17 at Fábrica de Arte Cubano and one with his Big Band on Tuesday, January 15, featuring his Sextet complemented by 11 Cuban musicians from the island, playing his compositions from his 2018 GRAMMY-winning album, Back to the Sunset, at Teatro Mella.

Born in Santa Clara, Cuba and completing his education at the National School of Art (La ENA) in Havana, Prieto partnered with the New York-based non-profit organization Horns to Havana (dedicated to instrument donation and repair, as well as cultural exchanges in Cuba and the United States) to offer a Jazz Amistad (Jazz Friendship) program, in which he and the Sextet taught students at two music conservatories in Havana — Amadeo Roldán and his alma mater, La ENA.

To support this effort, Prieto received a prestigious grant from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation's USArtists International program, the only national initiative in the United States devoted to supporting performances by American artists at important international cultural festivals. USArtists International is made possible with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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Filmed January 11-18, 2019 in Havana, Cuba

Camera Operators: Saleem Reshamwala, José Antonio González

Live Sound Engineers: Delio Ferrero Moreria, Iván Ferrero Loforte

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PERSONNEL

Festival Internacional Jazz Plaza Cuba

Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Dafnis Prieto Big Band at Teatro Mella

Román Filiú
, Alto Sax, Soprano Sax, Flute, Clarinet
Pablo Cruz, Alto Sax, Soprano Sax, Flute, Piccolo
Peter Apfelbaum, Tenor Sax, Soprano Sax, Melodica
Cesar Filiú, Tenor Sax, Soprano Sax
Yuniet Lombida, Bari Sax

Ariel Guillot, Trombone
Juan Carlos Marin, Trombone
Hansel Woo, Trombone
Eduardo Sandoval, Bass Trombone

Mike Rodríguez, Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Thommy Lowry, Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Alejandro Delgado, Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Mayquel Gonzalez, Trumpet, Flugelhorn

Osmany Paredes, Piano
Johannes Weidenmueller, Acoustic & Electric Bass
Yaroldy Abreu, Congas, Bongos, Percussion
Dafnis Prieto, Drums & Music Director

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Thursday, January 17, 2019
Dafnis Prieto Sextet at Fábrica de Arte Cubano

Román Filiú
, Alto Sax
Mike Rodríguez, Trumpet
Peter Apfelbaum, Tenor Sax
Osmany Paredes, Piano
Johannes Weidenmueller, Bass
Dafnis Prieto, Drums & Music Director

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Tour Produced by Eric Oberstein

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Special thanks to 

Centro Nacional de Música Popular, Instituto Cubano de la Música:
Brenda Besada Rodríguez

Horns to Havana:
Susan Sillins
Jana La Sorte
Alison Kibbe
Lily Lombera

Conservatorio Amadeo Roldán:
Enrique Rodríguez

Escuela Nacional de Arte (La ENA)

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Special thanks to

Michael Cherashore
Roberto Concepción
Lindsay Evans & Joe Morone
Juan Carlos Formell
Jenny Fornoff
David Garten
Neris González Bello
Lisa Gussack
John Hahn
Aleida Llanes-Oberstein & Alan Oberstein
Elyse & Steve Montiel
Joe Morra
Harsha Murthy
Mana, Raheem & Javid Reshamwala
Ivet Ros Pérez
Suzanne Schechter
Scott Southard
Oliver Valdés
Karin & Luke Weidenmueller
Kyung Yoon

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This project was supported by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through USArtists International with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Dafnis Prieto Big Band is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization.

Dafnis Prieto Big Band Wins GRAMMY Award for Best Latin Jazz Album!

On Sunday, February 10 in Los Angeles, Cuban-born drummer, composer, bandleader, and 2011 MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Dafnis Prieto and his 17-piece Dafnis Prieto Big Band (DPBB) won the GRAMMY Award for Best Latin Jazz Album for their debut record, Back to the Sunset.

Prieto's label, Dafnison Music, which celebrated ten years as an independent record label in 2018, released the big band's debut album on April 6, 2018, to universal acclaim. On this project Prieto collaborated with GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY-winning producer Eric Oberstein, heralded for his work producing large ensemble recordings. Earlier this fall, the project also earned a Latin GRAMMY nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album.

In a statement, Prieto wrote, "The making of this album has been quite exciting, challenging, beautiful, and gratifying in so many ways. Thank you to all the supporters; we could not have made it this far without YOU. Thank you to the Academy for this recognition, to the musicians who played amazingly on the album, and to everyone involved."

Oberstein wrote, "We're grateful to our community who encouraged us and helped to make this dream happen over the last three years. It's been a joy to collaborate with Dafnis on this project; I'm thrilled that his vision and this remarkable band have been recognized in this way."

One of the leading musical voices of his generation, Prieto composed and arranged nine works for the album — called “one of the best recordings of the year" by DownBeat — showcasing his talents as a trailblazing composer while honoring his musical heroes and mentors. Back to the Sunset is Prieto’s seventh recording as a leader, and is a deeply personal, handcrafted statement, as well as an acknowledgment of the musical figures that shaped his development.

The DPBB's upcoming performances include:

Friday, March 29
Duke Performances at Duke University
Durham, NC

Saturday, March 30
Savannah Music Festival
Savannah, GA

Wednesday, May 29
Spoleto Festival USA
Charleston, SC

Thursday, July 11
*Copenhagen Jazz Festival
Copenhagen, Denmark

Friday, July 12
*North Sea Jazz Festival
Rotterdam, Netherlands

Wednesday, July 17 thru Saturday, July 20
*Ridehuset
Aarhus, Denmark

Sunday, August 4
Newport Jazz Festival
Newport, RI

*Dafnis Prieto Big Band feat. the Aarhus Jazz Orchestra

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DAFNIS PRIETO BIG BAND
BACK TO THE SUNSET

PERSONNEL

Mike Rodríguez
, Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Nathan Eklund, Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Alex Sipiagin, Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Josh Deutsch, Trumpet, Flugelhorn

Román Filiú, Alto Sax, Soprano Sax, Flute, Clarinet
Michael Thomas, Alto Sax, Soprano Sax, Flute, Piccolo
Peter Apfelbaum, Tenor Sax, Soprano Sax, Melodica
Joel Frahm, Tenor Sax, Soprano Sax
Chris Cheek, Bari Sax

Tim Albright, Trombone
Alan Ferber, Trombone
Jacob Garchik, Trombone
Jeff Nelson, Bass Trombone

Manuel Valera, Piano
Ricky Rodríguez, Acoustic & Electric Bass
Roberto Quintero, Congas, Bongos, Percussion

Dafnis Prieto, Drums & Music Director

Special Guests:
Brian Lynch
, Trumpet
Henry Threadgill, Alto Sax
Steve Coleman, Alto Sax 

Produced by Dafnis Prieto & Eric Oberstein

Executive Producers: Lindsay EvansHarsha Murthy
Associate Producer: John Hahn
Assistant Producers: Roy P. Torres & Mappy Torres

Recorded August 28 & 29, 2017 at Systems Two Recording Studios, Brooklyn, NY

Recording & Mixing Engineer: Joe Marciano
Mastering Engineer: Max Ross
Assistant Engineers: Max Ross & Andrew Cavaciuti
Mixing: Joe MarcianoMax RossDafnis Prieto & Eric Oberstein

Production Coordinator: Danny Martinez
Video: Makoto Matsuo
Photo: David Garten
Cover & Package Design: Michael Quanci
Marketing Consultation: Justin Goldberg

Booking: Hans Wendl
Publicity: Chris DiGirolamo, Two for the Show Media
Radio: Neal Sapper, New World 'n' Jazz

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Learn More: https://dafnisonmusic.com/bigband

Videos:

The Making of Back to the Sunset (EPK): https://youtu.be/Cpdx_5Gh6cQ

‘Danzonish Potpourri’: https://youtu.be/kx0q5J1AuvA

‘Out of the Bone’: https://youtu.be/rWm1s3ze8d4

Press:

"one of the best recordings of the year" 
— DownBeat Editors' Pick

"a 17-piece big band ... alternately playing with heat and heart" 
— JazzTimes Editor's Pick 

"The group pulls down snugly around [Prieto's] elaborate compositions, creating a fluid momentum in a range of styles" 
— The New York Times

"expresses the sheer force and depth of field that only a big band can achieve" 
— The Wall Street Journal

"The success of [Prieto's] experiment is clear" 
— WBGO

"big band gold" 
— The Huffington Post

"masterful" 
— All About Jazz

"invigorating, imaginative, and rhythmically exhilarating" 
— All About Jazz

"The 17-member ensemble roars, rollicks, rumbas, and purrs its way through nine original pieces.... Back to the Sunset is a treasure"
— Step Tempest

"Prieto’s gifts as a composer, arranger and ensemble-driving drummer are on full display throughout a set of swirling, color-filled compositions"
— Venice Magazine

Dafnis Prieto Returns to Cuba

From January 11-18, 2019, Cuban-born drummer, composer, and educator Dafnis Prieto made an historic and emotional return to his native Cuba to perform his own music on the island for the first time since settling in the United States 20 years ago in 1999. Prieto made two headlining performances at the International Jazz Plaza Festival in Havana, one with his Sextet on Thursday, January 17 at Fábrica de Arte Cubano and one with his Big Band on Tuesday, January 15, featuring his Sextet complemented by 11 Cuban musicians from the island, playing his compositions from his 2018 GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY-nominated album, Back to the Sunset, at Teatro Mella.

Born in Santa Clara, Cuba and completing his education at the National School of Art (La ENA) in Havana, Prieto partnered with the New York-based non-profit organization Horns to Havana (dedicated to instrument donation and repair, as well as cultural exchanges in Cuba and the United States) to offer a Jazz Amistad (Jazz Friendship) program, in which he and the Sextet taught students at two music conservatories in Havana — Amadeo Roldán and his alma mater, La ENA.

Prieto also presented at a colloquium organized by the Festival, discussing and playing concepts from his book, A World of Rhythmic Possibilities. In addition, Prieto made a number of television and radio appearances where he spoke about his work.

To support this effort, Prieto received a prestigious grant from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation's USArtists International program, the only national initiative in the United States devoted to supporting performances by American artists at important international cultural festivals. USArtists International is made possible with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This trip was documented for an in-progress short film by Emmy-nominated filmmaker Saleem Reshamwala (KidEthnic), with support from Executive Producer Lindsay Evans and Assistant Producers Joe Morra and Kyung Yoon.

The following personnel performed on the two concerts at the Jazz Plaza Festival:

Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Dafnis Prieto Big Band at Teatro Mella

Roman Filiu, Alto Sax
Pablo Cruz, Alto Sax
Peter Apfelbaum, Tenor Sax
Cesar Filiu, Tenor Sax
Yuniet Lombida, Bari Sax

Ariel Guillot, Trombone
Juan Carlos Marin, Trombone
Hansel Woo, Trombone
Eduardo Sandoval, Bass Trombone

Mike Rodriguez, Trumpet
Thommy Lowry, Trumpet
Alejandro Delgado, Trumpet
Mayquel Gonzalez, Trumpet

Osmany Paredes, Piano
Johannes Weidenmueller, Bass
Yaroldy Abreu, Percussion
Dafnis Prieto, Drums

Thursday, January 17, 2019
Dafnis Prieto Sextet at Fábrica de Arte Cubano

Roman Filiu, Alto Sax
Mike Rodriguez, Trumpet
Peter Apfelbaum, Tenor Sax
Osmany Paredes, Piano
Johannes Weidenmueller, Bass
Dafnis Prieto, Drums

Photographer David Garten captured moments throughout the week.

This engagement was supported by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through USArtists International with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.