MONDAY, NOVEMBER 1 THE CROCODILE, 8PM
Dafnis Prieto Proverb Trio
Cuong Vu / Andrew D’Angelo: Agogic
$15 general, $13 members/seniors, $7 students BUY NOW
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 2 PONCHO CONCERT HALL, Noon
Workshop with Dafnis Prieto
Free and open to the public
When the 25 year old Cuban born percussionist Dafnis Prieto’s arrived on the New York scene back in 1999 it sent shock waves throughout the jazz world. His subsequent years of performing, composing and recording have gone a long way toward cementing his place as one of the world’s preeminent percussionists. If fact, many believe he is revolutionizing the art of drumming.
Raised in the small town of Santa Clara, Cuba — about 150 miles east of Havana, Prieto studied both guitar and percussion as a child. After leaving the School of Fine Arts in Santa Clara he attended the National School of Music in Havana, where he concentrated on Afro-Cuban and classical music. It was also around this time that he became interested in jazz. The move from a small provincial town to the relatively huge confines of Havana was disconcerting to him, but it also gave him access to a lot of music he had not previously been exposed. The work of Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane and Hermeto Pascoal opened his mind to the creative possibilities inherent in avant-garde music.
Some of his earliest collaborations were with pianists Carlos Maza and Ramon Valle as well as with the groundbreaking (and now legendary) group, Columna B. But he was finding the avant-garde scene in Cuba too small and having a hard time making a living as a jazz musician. It was around this time that he met the visiting Canadian saxophonist Jane Bunnett, and performed in her band, The Spirits of Havana, during her stay. While touring with Columna B in Spain, his wife, the dancer Judith Sánchez Ruíz, received a commission to perform for two years in Barcelona. He decided then and there that he would not return to Cuba. He stayed in Spain for one year until Jane Bunnet invited him to tour with her in Canada and the U.S. During that time he applied for a visa to return to Barcelona but his request was denied. The situation forced him to consider living in New York.
Just as his move from Santa Clara to Havana proved difficult, his move to New York was even more so – not professionally, but personally. Being from a small town, he didn’t like NY at first. But despite his reservations, he was very well received there. New York Times jazz writer Ben Ratliff described the timing of his arrival in New York as “perfect”.
He almost immediately began getting calls to perform with some of America’s top innovators - Henry Threadgill, Steve Coleman, Eddie Palmieri, Roy Hargrove, Don Byron, Andrew Hill, among others. He also became a fixture at the Jazz Gallery in Lower Manhattan, which opened its doors to him and give him the artistic freedom to do whatever it is he wanted to do. In 2005 he released his first recording as a leader, entitled About the Monks. It not only features his considerable performing talents, but also showcases his producing, arranging, and composing skills. He has released three more records as a leader since then.
“In order to understand rhythm you have to internalize it,” Prieto once said. “The meaning of playing swing is to swing. The meaning of clave is to play WITH the clave. It is an attitude. That is the essence of music.”
Mr. Prieto will be performing with his Proverb Trio which features freestyle & vocal improvisation innovator Kokayi and the multi-faceted keyboardist Jason Lindner. Kicking the night off right will be the Cuong Vu/Andrew D’Angelo Quartet. Seattle jazz audiences should be very familiar with trumpeter Cuong Vu and the transformation he has brought to the University of Washington’s Jazz Program. Andrew D’Angelo is an iconoclastic alto saxophonist who has worked with Erik Friedlander, Bobby Previte and Jamie Saft among others. He is a former Seattleite now making his home in New York.