Dafnis Prieto

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Dafnis Prieto
Born (1974-07-31) July 31, 1974 (age 42)
Santa Clara, Villa Clara Province, Cuba
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Bandleader, composer, drummer and educator
Instruments Drums
Labels Dafnison Music

Dafnis Prieto (born July 31, 1974) is a Cuban-American bandleader, composer, drummer and educator. He is a 2011 MacArthur Fellow.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

He was born in Santa Clara, Villa Clara Province, Cuba.


"His arrival in the U.S. has been compared to that of an asteroid hitting New York."[2] Indeed, within a short period of time Prieto's revolutionary drumming techniques had a powerful impact on the Latin and jazz music scene, locally and internationally.[citation needed]

He is a recipient of various awards, including the 2011 MacArthur Fellowship Award and Up & Coming Musician of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association in 2006. Prieto was nominated for Best New Artist at the 2007 Latin Grammy Awards. The album Dafnis Prieto Absolute Quintet was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album that year. He has also received new works commissions, grants, and fellowships from Chamber Music America, Jazz at Lincoln Center, East Carolina University, Meet the Composer and the Doris Duke Foundation.

Also an educator, Prieto has conducted numerous master classes, clinics and workshops. Since 2005, he has been a member of the music faculty at New York University in New York City, New York. He currently teaches at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami in Miami, Florida.

A resident of New York City since 1999, he has played in numerous bands, including those led by

He has performed at many national and international music festivals as a sideman and as bandleader including various of his own project and music.

Prieto is the founder of the independent record company Dafnison Music.

As a composer, he has created music for dance, film, chamber ensembles, and most notably for his own bands, ranging from duets to his "Small Big Band" and including the different groups featured on his recordings as a leader: Dafnis Prieto About the Monks, Dafnis Prieto Absolute Quintet, Dafnis Prieto Sextet – Taking the Soul for a Walk, Dafnis Prieto Si o Si Quartet – Live at Jazz Standard and Dafnis Prieto Proverb Trio.[3]

Prieto endorses Yamaha Drums,[4] Sabian cymbals,[5] Latin Percussion, Evans drum heads and Vic Firth sticks.[6]

Discography (as bandleader)[edit]

  • Dafnis Prieto About the Monks (2005)
  • Dafnis Prieto Absolute Quintet (2006)
  • Dafnis Prieto Sextet – Taking the Soul for a Walk (2008)
  • Dafnis Prieto Si o Si Quartet – Live at the Jazz Standard (2009)
  • Dafnis Prieto Proverb Trio (2012)
  • Dafnis Prieto Sextet - Triangles and Circles (2015)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Staff (September 20, 2011). "Dafnis Prieto – Jazz Percussionist & Composer". John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Retrieved January 16, 2013. 
  2. ^ Staff (n.d.). "Dafnis Prieto". Drummerworld. Retrieved January 16, 2013. 
  3. ^ (registration required) Chinen, Nate (July 27, 2009). "From Babble to Rhythm, Cuban Style". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ "Artists Page". Yamaha. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  5. ^ "Artists Page". Sabian. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "Artists Page". Vic Firth. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 

External links[edit]