Dafnis Prieto Si o Si Quartet / Live at Jazz Standard. Release by Dafnison Music 002.
Two time Grammy nominee Dafnis Prieto continues to articulate his singular vision as a bandleader, drummer and composer with his newest album, recorded live at New York's Jazz Standard last March. Introducing the Dafnis Prieto Si o Si Quartet, it is the second release of Prieto's own label, Dafnison Music and follows the much acclaimed 2008 sextet recording, Taking the Soul for a Walk, 2006's Absolute Quintet, and his 2005 debut album About the Monks (the latter two released on Zoho Music.)
Comprised by the nucleus of the sextet that Prieto has been leading over the past two years, his Si o Si (Yes or Yes) Quartet features longtime collaborators Manuel Valera on piano, Charles Flores on bass and Peter Apfelbaum on saxophones and percussion.
Hailed as "a composer of considerable depth [whose] music packs an emotional punch" (Down Beat Magazine), "a phenomenal drummer who is clearly pushing the Afro-Cuban jazz language into new territory" (Variety), and for "his impeccable taste and ability to blend Latin traditions and post-bop with a progressive approach that is rich and distinctive" (San Diego Union Tribune), Prieto has firmly established himself as a unique and compelling voice on today's jazz scene. Since moving from Cuba to New York ten years ago, his impact as groundbreaking musician and bandleader has been immense and widely acknowledged by his peers, critics, and ever-growing audience. He has received numerous grants and commissions to write new music from Chamber Music America, Meet the Composer and other foundations, the most recent of which were just premiered by the Si o Si Quartet on WNYC's "New Americans" program and at the Museum of Modern Art.
Like his three previous albums, Live at Jazz Standard features all original music, distinguished by Prieto's rich melodic sense, harmonic sophistication, and his virtually unlimited polyrhythmic resources. What's truly innovative about his approach as composer and arranger is his ability to seamlessly integrate and combine these elements and create music that is "emotionally charged and stylistically diverse" (The Wall Street Journal) and "distinguished by complex, jaggedly modern writing, but also by a deep cultural literacy of Cuban folklore." (The New York Times)
The contributions of Prieto's bandmates cannot be overstated. They are kindred spirits and virtuosic instrumentalists, always engaged in listening and responding both individually and collectively and attaining a level of musical communication that at times approaches telepathy. Their rapport is honed by years of playing together in many different contexts. Hearing the Dafnis Prieto Si o Si Quartet play live is a special experience - without safety net, unedited, raw, but nevertheless refined.