DAFNIS PRIETO SEXTET
Over the past two decades or so a wave of astonishing musicians from Latin America has surged across the New York jazz scene providing a torrent of energy. Cuban-born drummer Dafnis Prieto exemplifies this wide-open generation as a conservatory-trained artist steeped in Afro-Cuban folkloric forms, the European classical tradition, and post-bop jazz improvisation.
The recipient of a 2011 MacArthur Genius Fellowship, Prieto is an increasingly commanding composer whose new album Triangles and Circles showcases his dazzling Sextet featuring the members of his Si o Si Quartet – saxophonist Peter Apfelbaum, pianist Manuel Valera, bassist Johannes Weidenmueller – plus trumpeter Mike Rodriguez and saxophonist Felipe Lamoglia.
All brilliant soloists, they are also exemplary team players who, like Prieto, are experts at crafting musical narrative from Pan-American source material.
Long-awaited after his sextet’s highly praised 2008 debut CD Taking the Soul for a Walk, the new recording illuminates the master drummer and multiple GRAMMY nominee even more brightly as a composer of complex but infectiously melodic tunes, melding the folklore of his Afro-Cuban roots with modern harmonies rich with counterpoint and virtuosic rhythmic concepts.
Triangles and Circles, released in May 2015, was also immediately lauded by the press, including glowing reviews by both jazz critics of The New York Times, a feature on NPR’s Fresh Air, and a DownBeat Editor’s Pick (see below), continuing the tone The Wall Street Journal set when it described the first record as “emotionally charged and stylistically diverse, carried along not just by rhythm but also through lovely harmonized passages, horn fanfares, and powerfully conjured moods.”
“Dafnis Prieto has an infectious dedication to the Afro-Cuban groove, and it’s on full display with his latest recording, Triangles and Circles. The album shimmers and swells with his heart-pounding drum work, but it’s wrapped by beautiful melodic structure and thoughtful compositions that draw from a broad musical ocean. ... all deliver killer solos, but not at the expense of the grand vision of the song. That’s the magic of Prieto: He has the ability to offer compositions and arrangements that are distinctly him, but he craftily leaves room for pedal-to-the-metal improvisation from a truly great band.” — DownBeat Editor’s Pick
Dafnis Prieto Sextet: Triangles and Circles EPK
Dafnis Prieto Sextet: Blah Blah