Cuban-born drummer, composer and bandleader Dafnis Prieto releases the Dafnis Prieto Big Band’s debut album, “Back to the Sunset”, on Friday, April 6, 2018.
Prieto composed and arranged nine tunes for the album, honoring his musical heroes and mentors including Eddie Palmieri, Chico O’Farrill, Bebo Valdés, Jane Bunnett, and Michel Camilo.
The line-up of the band features 5 saxophones, 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, piano, bass, drums and percussion, almost like a classic big band, the sound however is true Latin jazz.
The CD starts with “Una Vez Más” featuring Brian Lynch on trumpet and is dedicated to Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri & Brian Lynch. After a long intro, starting easy with bass, drums and percussion, the volume and intensity increases by adding more registers and the trumpet starts with the melody. We hear a Eddie Palmierei-inspired piano by Manuel Valera and a great trumpet solo by Brian Lynch.
The second song “The Sooner the Better” is dedicated to Egberto Gismonti & Jerry González and is a slower tune, but with great dynamics.
“Out Of The Bone” surprises with different modes, starting with a steady beat and switches to a faster Samba-like groove.
The title song “Back to the Sunset” features Henry Threadgill on alto sax and is dedicated to Henry Threadgill & Andrew Hill. It starts very elegiac and gives the soloist the necessary space to perform in his unique and free style.
The 5th song “Danzonish Potpourri”, dedicated to Bebo Valdés, Art Blakey & Jane Bunnett returns back to Latin groove. The melody is nice and easy but the arrangement is very sophisticated changing grooves and dynamics.
“Song for Chico” featuring Steve Coleman (alto sax), dedicated to Chico O’Farrill, Arturo O’Farrill & Mario Bauzá, comes with a great horn section arrangement before Steve Coleman starts with his solo.
“Prelude Para Rosa” (dedicated to Bobby Carcassés & Dave Samuels) begins with a contemporary-jazz piano solo before the band takes over. After tempo and style change from Swing to Latin the main theme is built-up starting with the sax section and culminating after 4 minutes with the trumpets.
“Two For One” is dedicated to Buddy Rich, Chucho Valdés & Hermeto Pascoal has again a long intro, based on a drum-vamp and shows the band playing under full speed with just a little time to take a breath during the saxophone and piano solo. At the end we get to hear a excellent drum and percussion solo.
The last song “The Triumphant Journey” is dedicated to Dizzy Gillespie & Chano Pozo and the main theme is one of the highlights of the CD. Great melody, excellent arrangement and played perfectly. The first solo goes to the trumpet, obviously, followed by saxophone and trombone solos and ends with the magnificent theme.
This CD is really intense and eruptive, you feel the energy and the power of the music and the musicians. The arrangements are excellent and the band brings together some of the world’s best Latin jazz musicians, many of whom have previously played Prieto’s music in his other bands.
The band strives to make an impact as a leading Latin jazz big band recording and performing for years to come, and to provide a platform for Prieto to write for big band, a format he fell in love with as a child.
Here is the complete line-up:
Mike Rodríguez, Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Nathan Eklund, Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Alex Sipiagin, Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Josh Deutsch, Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Román Filiú, Alto Sax, Soprano Sax, Flute, Clarinet
Michael Thomas, Alto Sax, Soprano Sax, Flute, Piccolo
Peter Apfelbaum, Tenor Sax, Soprano Sax, Melodica
Joel Frahm, Tenor Sax, Soprano Sax
Chris Cheek, Bari Sax
Tim Albright, Trombone
Alan Ferber, Trombone
Jacob Garchik, Trombone
Jeff Nelson, Bass Trombone
Manuel Valera, Piano
Ricky Rodríguez, Acoustic & Electric Bass
Roberto Quintero, Congas, Bongos, Percussion
Dafnis Prieto, Drums & Music Director
Brian Lynch, Trumpet (Track 1)
Henry Threadgill, Alto Sax (Track 4)
Steve Coleman, Alto Sax (Track 6)
Produced by Dafnis Prieto & Eric Oberstein
For More Information on the Big Band