Pianist and composer Elio Villafranca’s musical excellence was first widely recognized in 2003 by Jazz Times Magazine who selected his debut album Incantations/Encantaciones (Universal Latin/Pimienta) as one of the top 50 best jazz albums of the year. More recently, Wynton Marsalis featured Mr. Villafranca, in a performance at the Allen Room, Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. Additionally, Mr. Villafranca will soon be featured on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz Radio Broadcast on National Public Radio as a guest artist of pianist and guest host, Geri Allen.
The Elio Villafranca Quartet has featured an array of accomplished musicians including Pat Martino, Jane Bunnett, Terell Stafford, and Eric Alexander, with whom he recorded his latest album entitled The Source In Between. The Elio Villafranca Quartet has toured nationally and internationally, performing at Jazz á Beaune Festival in France and the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City.
Mr. Villafranca has also gained the recognition of Latin and jazz music elite as a sideman: He has collaborated with Jon Faddis, Sonny Fortune, Dave Valentin, Lenny White, Horacio "El Negro" Hernández, Ralph Peterson, Giovanni Hidalgo, Eddie Henderson, Babatunde Lea, Miguel Zenón, Cándido Camero, and Johnny Pacheco among others. Mr. Villafranca toured Europe with Grammy Nominated Blue Note recording artists Jane Bunnett (as part of The Spirits of Havana) and Pat Martino (as part of the Pat Martino Quintet) with each of whom he performed at various world-renowned venues including the Blue Note Jazz Festival in Ghent, Belgium, the Blue Note Jazz Club in Milan, Italy, the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy, and the North Sea Jazz Festival at The Hague, Holland.
Elio Villafranca was born in the Pinar del Río province of Western Cuba and was classically trained in percussion and composition at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, Cuba. Since his arrival in the U.S., Villafranca has been involved in East and West coast jazz and Latin jazz scenes. Inspired by jazz and other musical genres from the African Diaspora, Villafranca creates unique cultural and musical fusions with spirited, groundbreaking innovations. Mr. Villafranca has composed and arranged original soundtracks for PBS documentaries and a variety of independent films. Currently Elio Villafranca resides in New York City and is represented by CeibaTreeMusic.