Frank Villafañe is a Latin-Jazz pianist, composer and arranger. He plays piano con clave in the styles of Eddie Palmieri, Sergio Mendes and Pedro ‘Peruchin’ Justiz, who he cites as his main influences. Born in Bremerhaven, Germany, the son of Mike and Elfriede Villafañe, Frank grew up all over the United States and Europe, and experienced multiculturalism first-hand. Musically, as in life, Frank's upbringing was fairly eclectic, being exposed to Latin, Jazz, Calypso, Folk, and the Classics early on. He began piano lessons in earnest at the tender age of 8. His interest in music was sustained throughout his relocations to two continents during his formative years. At twelve, Frank moved to Puerto Rico, where his 7th grade music teacher provided the impetus fueling his musical direction, when he heard an original copy of Maple Leaf Rag played by the composer Scott Joplin. Moving back to the States, at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, Frank acquired the musical form Ragtime and earned his first paying "gig" as a professional musician at the age of 14, where he performed many Ragtime favorites by Scott Joplin and other Ragtime greats, for the Officers Club at a Roaring 20’s theme party. Frank received his formal musical training at Rutgers University where he studied with jazz greats Kenny Barron, Walter Bishop Jr., Ted Dunbar, Frank Foster and others.
Frank has played extensively with numerous Latin Jazz and Salsa conjuntos for the last 30 years, and has opened twice for Eddie Palmieri (one of his
aforementioned influences) and has shared the stage with such Latin luminaries as Jose Alberto “El Canario”, Richie Flores, Mario Rivera, Louis
Romero, Alfredo De La Fe, Chris Washburne, Mike Freeman, Julio Salgado and many others.