Dafnis Prieto
Absolute Quintet

2007 GRAMMY NOMINEE in LATIN JAZZ category !

Release Date: May 8, 2006
Selection #: ZM 200606
Availability: Worldwide - ZOHO License expired


1. The Coolest
2. Afrotango
3. The Stutterer
4. Suite 1, 2, 3
5. Sensaciones
6. Innocent Bird
7. New Elephant
8. Renew Elephant


Dafnis Prieto - drums & percussion
Yosvany Terry - alto & tenor sax
Christian Howes - violin
Dana Leong - cello
Jason Lindner - piano and Hammond organ

Special Guest :
Henry Threadgill - alto sax

Producers : Roberto Occhipinti and Dafnis Prieto

Recorded at Systems 2 Recordings, Brooklyn, NY, in October 2005.


Dafnis Prieto's ZOHO CD release ABSOLUTE QUINTET was just nominated for a GRAMMY in the Latin Jazz category! Award ceremony is on Sunday, February 11, 2006 at the STAPLES CENTER in Los Angeles, CA - and will be broadcast live by CBS TV!

European concert music has had a great impact on Cuban culture, along with African and popular music from Spain, France and Italy. By the19th century, an authentic and original Cuban music began to evolve, with many traces of European chamber music traditions. I always remember the sound of strings in early Cuban music, in styles such as Danzon, Danza, Contradanza, as well as in the popular Charanga bands. You can find it in the music of Esteban Salas, José White, Alejandro Garcia Caturla, Amadeo Roldan and other prominent Cuban composers.

The sound of my Absolute Quintet is a reflection of these many styles that have influenced my musical development. While I always liked the sounds of the Hammond organ and of all string instruments individually, I never thought that I was going to have so much fun writing for and conceiving an ensemble sound that includes cello, violin, organ and other keyboards, as well as saxophones and drums. I am grateful to the great musicians in my band who have infused my compositions with so much individual talent, creative energy, and spirited interplay.

The Coolest is inspired by a duet collaboration with vocalist Carl Walker (Kokay) and reflects the emotion I felt about meeting and performing with him.
Sensaciones: Life is full of sensations and feelings; I wanted to write something that somehow expresses what we can’t express with words, a feeling of existence, the breathing of the body, or maybe just infinity.

The Stutterer is a very percussive piece, as when a person who stutters speaks. It creates a rhythmic pattern that repeats one after the other, going back and forth to the same melodies or rhythms. Afrotango is dedicated to my wife Judith. A sentimental and a romantic melody line on top of a 6/8 rhythmic pattern is the basis of this tune. Henry
Threadgill’s playing gives the song its essence.

One Day Suite: Morning, Afternoon and Night are the three movements of this piece that recreate the motion and energy of a 24-hour period.

The Morning is about the sunrise, the start of the day, the beginning of opportunities. The Afternoon reflects on the consistence of ideas, the continuation of the day. The Night describes the day after sunset - the calm, the glory, the end.
Dafnis Prieto’s Absolute Quintet, from left : Yosvany Terry, Christian Howes, Dafnis Prieto, Dana Leong, Jason Lindner. Photo by Sergio Royzen, October 2005.

New Elephant: the sound coming from the image of an elephant woke me up one day – it was like thunder in slow motion, in darkness, but I could hear the sound from far away, coming like an elephant with slow, rumbling steps
towards me. Renew the Elephant: once more the image of the elephant came to me, but this time in a different way. The colors and the sound were a reincarnation of the elephant, and I renewed the image in my mind so that it became a different animal. Innocent Bird: I wrote this tune a week before my son Lucian was born. It reflects how I feel about him – he was coming into this world like an innocent bird. Dafnis Prieto

Produced by Roberto Occhipinti and Dafnis Prieto. Recorded by Joe Marciano at Systems Two, Brooklyn, NY in Summer 2005. Mixed by Jeff Wolpert at Desert Fish, Inc., Toronto, Ontario. Mastered by Peter J. Moore at The “E” Room, Toronto, Ontario. Photos: CD cover by Ben Long. Henry & Dafnis, and musicians outdoors by Judith Sanchez Ruiz. Musicians performing by Hans Wendl. Dafnis sitting with black background by Bill King. Package Design: 3+Co. (www.threeandco.com) Executive Producer: Joachim Becker.

Dafnis Prieto is a recipient of a Meet the Composer Vanlier Fellowship 2005.

Dafnis Prieto plays Yamaha Drums, Latin Percussion, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, and Evans drumheads. Christian Howes plays Yamaha violins.