Dafnis Prieto: Si O Si


Si o Si


Dafnis Prieto (drums)


Live at Jazz Standard NYC (Dafnison Music 002)

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Dafnis Prieto (drums), Peter Apfelbaum (tenor sax),

Manuel Valera (piano), Charles Flores (bass)


Composed by Dafnis Prieto


Recorded: Jazz Standard, New York, March 20-22, 2009


Rating: 89/100 (learn more)

Cuban-born Dafnis Prieto has established himself with fellow musicians and a growing audience as a high-energy percussive and compositional force. Ever since he settled in New York in 1999, his jagged, complex approach to the drums- a combination of Afro-Cuban folk rhythms and the poly-rhythmic punctuations of modern jazz drumming- has been a staple of the New York City jazz scene. His compositions are inexhaustibly creative utilizing a barrage of timbres, crashes, clangs and rolls and an abundance of syncopation. The energy generated from so much kinetics can elevate your heartbeat.

On the title song "Si o Si" ("Yes or Yes"), Prieto’s particular kind of choppy, stop/start motion is featured. At the intro, he lays down a repeating drum line accompanied only by bassist Flores As the scant melody line unfolds on Valera’s piano, it becomes apparent that in addition to maintaining the complex, rhythmic beat, Prieto’s drum patterns have cleverly mimicked the melody line all along. Peter Apfelbaum smoothes out the sharp edges when his sonorous tenor is heard solo and in concert with Valera’s piano.

When Valera is given room to solo, he intuitively reaches out in a more lyrical direction, a nice respite from the song’s frenetic core. But not for long: Prieto’s fusillade of sounds prods Valera until he lets loose returning you to the cardiac excitement this music generates. Ultimately Prieto closes this composition by slowing the tempo down gradually in a surprisingly restrained refrain presumably so you can catch your breath before he starts it all again.

Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello

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