Home New Music Dafnison Music and Dafnis Prieto Big Band release BACK TO THE SUNSET

Dafnison Music and Dafnis Prieto Big Band release BACK TO THE SUNSET



Inspired to make his biggest statement yet, Cuban-born drummer, composer, bandleader, and 2011 MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Dafnis Prieto is thrilled to release the Dafnis Prieto Big Band’s (DPBB) debut album, Back to the Sunset, on Friday, April 6, 2018 on Prieto’s independent music label, Dafnison Music, celebrating ten years as a record label in April 2018. On this project, Prieto is collaborating with GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY-winning producer Eric Oberstein, heralded for his work producing large ensemble recordings.

The DPBB made its world premiere over three exhilarating nights, August 25-27, 2017, at New York’s Jazz Standard. Immediately following the premiere, the DPBB recorded at Systems Two Recording Studios in Brooklyn August 28-29, 2017, joined by special guests Henry Threadgill, Steve Coleman, and Brian Lynch.

One of the leading musical voices of his generation, Prieto composed and arranged nine works for the album, showcasing his talents as a trailblazing composer while honoring his musical heroes and mentors including Eddie Palmieri, Chico O’Farrill, Bebo Valdés, Jane Bunnett, and Michel Camilo (in addition to Threadgill, Coleman, and Lynch, among others). Back to the Sunset is Prieto’s seventh recording as a leader, and is a deeply personal, handcrafted statement, as well as an acknowledgment of the musical figures that shaped his development.

Prieto writes, “The undercurrent of this album is to pay tribute to some significant mentors/musicians that have influenced and inspired me one way or another, directly or indirectly. This is a journey in time, looking back and remembering the way up to now, with gratitude and joy. Back to the Sunset is a state of mind, a place for contemplation and love.”

“It’s been a joy to collaborate with Dafnis Prieto on this ambitious project,” writes Oberstein. “This new ensemble is a powerful vehicle for Dafnis’ expansive ideas as a composer. In this record, you’ll hear his native Cuba and the influences he’s absorbed since immigrating to the United States 18 years ago, but also a collection of works that are distinctly his own, with a full palette of sounds and colors on display.”

Since arriving in the U.S. from Cuba in 1999, Prieto has been fearless in his vision, playing and writing across styles, always with a forward-looking instinct. He is known for his inventive, sensitive drumming and propulsive rhythm.

His compositions mix lush and jubilant melodies with polyrhythm, displaying a range of musical vocabularies from Latin jazz to classical chamber music. In over two decades as a professional musician, Prieto has composed for numerous configurations, including big band, amassing a catalog of more than 50 original works.

Prieto is committed to maintaining a bold vision for his music. The 17-piece DPBB showcases some of the world’s best Latin jazz musicians, many of whom have previously played Prieto’s music in his other bands. The ensemble features three horn sections (saxophones, trumpets, and trombones) and a rhythm section of piano, bass, congas, and Prieto on drums. The DPBB 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 the big band, a format he fell in love with as a child.


June 7-10, 2018: Jazz Standard, NYC

November 10, 2018: Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, NYC


All compositions & arrangements by Dafnis Prieto

1. Una Vez Más (7:28) featuring Brian Lynch (trumpet). Dedicated to Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri & Brian Lynch. Soloists: Manuel Valera (piano), Brian Lynch (trumpet), Roberto Quintero (congas), Dafnis Prieto (drums).

2. The Sooner the Better (9:04). Dedicated to Egberto Gismonti & Jerry González. Soloists: Ricky Rodríguez (acoustic bass), Peter Apfelbaum (tenor sax), Alex Sipiagin (flugelhorn), Román Filiú (alto sax).

3. Out of the Bone (9:34). Dedicated to Steve Coleman & Michel Camilo. Soloists: Chris Cheek (bari sax), Dafnis Prieto (drums), Jeff Nelson (bass trombone), Alan Ferber (trombone), Jacob Garchik (trombone).

4. Back to the Sunset (7:29) featuring Henry Threadgill (alto sax). Dedicated to Henry Threadgill & Andrew Hill. Soloist: Henry Threadgill (alto sax).

5. Danzonish Potpourri (10:11). Dedicated to Bebo Valdés, Art Blakey & Jane Bunnett. Soloists: Dafnis Prieto (drums), Josh Deutsch (trumpet), Ricky Rodríguez (acoustic bass), Michael Thomas (soprano sax), Manuel Valera (piano), Peter Apfelbaum (melodica).

6. Song for Chico (7:28) featuring Steve Coleman (alto sax). Dedicated to Chico O’Farrill, Arturo O’Farrill & Mario Bauzá. Soloists: Steve Coleman (alto sax), Nathan Eklund (trumpet), Roberto Quintero (congas), Dafnis Prieto (drums).

7. Prelude Para Rosa (8:04). Dedicated to Bobby Carcassés & Dave Samuels. Soloists: Manuel Valera (piano), Michael Thomas (piccolo), Joel Frahm (soprano sax).

8. Two for One (9:16). Dedicated to Buddy Rich, Chucho Valdés & Hermeto Pascoal. Soloists: Peter Apfelbaum (tenor sax), Chris Cheek (bari sax), Nathan Eklund (trumpet), Michael Thomas (alto sax), Manuel Valera (piano), Dafnis Prieto (drums).

9. The Triumphant Journey (6:50). Dedicated to Dizzy Gillespie & Chano Pozo. Soloists: Mike Rodríguez (trumpet), Joel Frahm (tenor sax), Tim Albright (trombone), Román Filiú (alto sax).


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

Special Guests:
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 visit: www.dafnisonmusic.com/bigband


A graduate of Empire State College with a dual major in journalism and Latin American studies, Tomas Peña has spent years applying his knowledge and writing skills to the promotion of great musicians. A specialist in the crossroads between jazz and Latin music, Peña has written extensively on the subject.


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