It's been almost a decade since drummer/percussionist/composer and arranger Dafnis Prieto came to New York from his native Cuba. Taking The Soul For A Walk
is his third album and the first for his own label, Dafnison. Before adventuring on his own, Prieto spent a period working in a variety of jazz subgenres; which include latin ensembles led by Eddie Palmieri and Michel Camilo, as well as the avant-garde combos of Henry Threadgill, Steve Coleman and Peter Apfelbaum.
In terms of his Afro-Cuban background and heritage, Taking The Soul For A Walk is not really latin jazz. Prieto has taken an Art Blakey-like approach in terms of working around original materialin this case, the tunes are all his compositionsand featuring players who have a cutting-edge sensibility. The inclusion of musicians like saxophonists Apfelbaum and Yosvany Terry, as well as trumpeter Avishai Cohen, lend a lot of free-bop into this project.
However, Prieto does display his latin roots on "Until The Last Minute," which after an opening piano introduction, launches into a bolero that the drummer dedicates to his mentor, the late conguero Miguel "Anga" Diaz. This track features an uncharacteristic solo from Apfelbaum on melodica. Following is "Comandante," a latinized original in which Prieto leads the way as the horns enter midway through the composition. On "Emergency Call," Prieto enters into a creative dialogue with pianist Manuel Valera until the ensemble enters at about the 90 second mark. In "Prelude Para Rosa," a composition dedicated to Prieto's mother, Itai Kriss plays the flute.
In sum, Taking The Soul For A Walk represents an ambitious project that showcases Prieto's development and eclectic vision.
Personnel: Dafnis Prieto: drums; Peter Apfelbaum: C soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, melodica; Yosvany Terry: Bb soprano saxophone, alto saxophone; Avishai Cohen: trumpet; Yunior Terry: acoustic bass; Manuel Valera: piano, Fender Rhodes; Itai Kriss: flute (10).