“Dafnis Prieto is easily the most impressive young drummer to come on the jazz scene during the past decade”
Born in 1974, Dafnis Prieto grew up in Santa Clara, Cuba. He played both percussion and guitar as a teenager and attended the National School of Music in Havana where he became interested in jazz. He met and played with Canadian saxophonist Jane Bunnett (who was honeymooning in Havana) and accepted her invitation to perform in North America with her Spirits of Havana. In 1999 he moved to New York City.
Since then, Prieto has enjoyed a reputation for being a flexible and broad-minded drummer, percussionist, composer and arranger who can handle post-bop and Latin jazz as well as avant-garde gigs. Beginning in the early 2000s, Prieto was employed as a sideman by Eddie Palmieri, Michel Camilo, Dave Samuels, Arturo O’Farrill, Chucho Valdez, Claudia Acuña, Roy Hargrove, Don Byron and Andrew Hill, among others.
As a composer, he has created music for dance, film, chamber ensembles, and most notably for his own bands 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. In 2006, he was named “Up & Coming Musician of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association and received a Grammy Award Nomination for “Absolute Quintet” as Best Latin Jazz Album. In 2007 he garnered a Latin Grammy Nomination for “Best New Artist.” 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. The newest CD “Taking the Soul for a Walk” was released in 2008.
This is Prieto’s second appearance at Litchfield, and his first as a leader. His quartet includes Peter Apfelbaum on sax, Manuel Valera on piano and Charles Flores on bass.