Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dafnis Prieto Si o Si Quartet, Stanford Jazz Workshop

I went not sure what to expect, figuring a Cuban drummer with a couple more Cuban guys in the quartet was going to play Afro-Cuban jazz, but also noting that he has been Henry Threadgill's drummer of choice on a couple of occasions, so anything goes. The Latin element was in there, but for the most part it was edgy modern jazz, sometimes with an identifiable beat, which was 7 as often as 4, sometimes just a tight free-jazz pulse. Complex composed passages. The rest of the band is first rate, especially Manuel Valera on piano, who has Keith Jarrett's way with angular solo lines (the rest: Peter Apfelbaum, tenor sax; Armando Gola, bass).

Criticism? Too much drum! Prieto is awe-inspiring, and he plays with the band, not against it, but he's so clever and busy (and loud in a small space) that one is easily distracted. Not an unpleasant distraction, mind you...

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