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Dafnis Prieto On “Triangles and Circles”



Dafnis Prieto On Drums 3

How long have you been living in New York?

Sixteen years.

I recall seeing you perform at the Jazz Gallery shortly after you arrived from Cuba (2000). We’ll get back to the Jazz Gallery and Founder/Director Dale Fitzgerald, who recently passed, in a moment.

What goes through your mind when you reflect on leaving Cuba, moving to New York and everything that has happened since?

I have to be grateful to the many musicians and people that have supported me. Also, to New York and the New York music scene for embracing me and giving me the opportunity to grow as an artist. I wouldn’t be able to do what I’ve done anywhere else in the world.

Getting back to Dale. He obviously played a significant role in your musical development.

Dale was one of the first people in New York that opened the door for me as an artist and specifically as a leader. I’ve been presenting my music at the Jazz Gallery since 2000, and it has been an amazing journey. Over the years, I’ve performed there over twenty times. Dale was an amazing human being who loved art, music and the people who create it. That’s significantly different from other presenters. Many presenters love the art, but they don’t connect with the artists on a human level. Dale knew how to support an artist from every standpoint. He and I always had a great connection because he understood what I was doing and supported me in everything I did.

I have fond memories of seeing you, Yosvany Terry, Luis Perdomo, Miguel Zenón and others present new material at the Jazz Gallery’s Composer’s Series. Dale was very proud of that.

All of my projects premiered at the Jazz Gallery – the Sextet, Si o Si, the Absolut Quintet, etc. When I think about the Jazz Gallery, I’m not thinking about a club or a venue, I’m thinking about an artistic home.

For the record, we’re referring to the original Jazz Gallery on the fringe of So-Ho, at 290 Hudson Street. The venue has since moved to 1160 Broadway (5th Floor) in midtown Manhattan.

Triangles and Circles is being released through your label, Dafnison Music. When will the project be released?

It’s available through, and iTunes. I’d like people to know that supporting the recording and Dafnison Music supports future projects.

What sets Triangles and Circles apart from your past recordings?

Well, all of the compositions are full of new musical adventures, it’s a fresh sound …

What stands out for me is, your growth as a composer. You sound comfortable and confident in your own skin.

Thank you … of course, I would like to believe that I’ve evolved as a composer and as a player but when it comes to making a record the most important thing is, the sound as a whole. Being able to capture the sound I’m seeking and convey it with the sound each musician brings to the music in a subtle and sophisticated way.

You’ve certainly succeeded in doing that and you couldn’t ask for a more exemplary and brilliant group of players. Triangles and Circles is a terrific recording. See you at the Jazz Standard!

Dafnis Prieto Sextet – Triangles and Circles

Personnel: Peter Apfelbaum – Tenor & Soprano Saxophone, Melodica, Felipe Lamoglia – Alto Saxophone, Mike Rodriguez – Trumpet, Manuel Valera – Piano, Johannes Weidenmuller – Acoustic & Electric Bass, Dafnis Prieto – Drums.

Tracks: 1-Back and Forth, 2-Triangles and Circles, 3-Flores, 4-The Evil in You, 5-Blah Blah Blah, 6-Blah Blah, 7-Two for One, 8-Opening.

Buy music on: amazon
Photographs: Henry López

Discography as a leader:
  • About the Monks (Zoho, 2005)
  • Absolute Quintet (Zoho, 2006)
  • Taking the Soul for a Walk (Dafnison Music, 2008)
  • Si O Si Quintet Live at the Jazz Standard (Dafnison Music, 2009)
  • Dafnis Prieto Proverb Trio (Dafnison Music, 2012)
  • Triangles and Circles (Dafnison Music, 2015)

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A graduate of Empire State College with a dual major in journalism and Latin American studies, Tomas Peña has spent years applying his knowledge and writing skills to the promotion of great musicians. A specialist in the crossroads between jazz and Latin music, Peña has written extensively on the subject.

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