Saturday, May 05, 2012

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Spotlight on Dafnis Prieto

This week, our video spotlight shines on drummer Dafnis Prieto, who will be in St. Louis to perform next Wednesday, May 9 through Saturday, May 12 at Jazz at the Bistro. This will be Prieto's debut as a bandleader at the Bistro, but you may recognize his name as a recipient of one of the 2011 MacArthur Fellowships, often referred to colloquially as "genius grants."

Prieto, who's 37 and was born in Cuba, has seen his star rise quickly since coming to the USA in 1999. He has made four recordings as a leader, and has performed and/or recorded Henry Threadgill, Steve Coleman, Eddie Palmieri, Chico and Arturo O'Farrill, Dave Samuels and the Caribbean Jazz Project, Jane Bunnett, D.D. Jackson, Edward Simon, Michel Camilo, Chucho Valdez, Giovanni Hidalgo, Claudia Acuña, Roy Hargrove, Don Byron, and Andrew Hill. Since 2005, Prieto also has been a member of the music faculty at New York University.

According to this brief interview with Prieto by the Post-Dispatch's Calvin Wilson, for his St. Louis gig the drummer will be joined by bassist Johannes Weidenmueller and saxophonist Roman Filiu. While there doesn't seem to be any video online that documents this particular ensemble, there's a wealth of other material featuring Prieto, which we've mined to bring you today's offerings.

Up top, you can see Prieto and his Si O Si Quartet with guest violinist Christian Howes performing a complete set at the Library of Congress' Atlas Performing Arts Center. Down below, there are three solo performances by Prieto. The first is from the MacArthur Fellows ceremony in 2011, and the next two are from the Percussive Arts Society's Weekend of Percussion 2011.

To close out, we've got two extended video interviews with the drummer. The first is from a masterclass at Loyola University in New Orleans; the second features Prieto being interviewed by Larry Appelbaum of the Library of Congress' Music Division as part of series of discussions and performances called "Music and the Brain."

For more about Dafnis Prieto, see this overview of his recordings as a leader, from the Latin Jazz Corner blog via; this interview and performance from just a couple of weeks ago on Minnesota Public Radio; and this 2008 interview Prieto did with Leroy "The Jazzcat" Downs.

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