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Musician

Elio Villafranca

Born in the Pinar del Río province of Cuba, Steinway Artist, Grammy Nominated, and 2014 Jalc Millennium Swing Award! recipient pianist and composer Elio Villafranca was classically trained in percussion and composition at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, Cuba.

Since his arrival in the U.S. in mid 1995, Elio Villafranca is at the forefront of the latest generation of remarkable pianists, composers and bandleaders. His concert Letters to Mother Africa was selected by NYC Jazz Record as Best Concerts in 2016. In 2015, Mr. Villafranca was among the 5 pianists hand picked by Chick Corea to perform at the first Chick Corea Jazz Festival, curated by Chick him self at JALC. Elio Villafranca’s new album Caribbean Tinge (Motema), received a 2014 Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik Nomination by the German Records Critics Award, as well has been selected by JazzTimes and DownBeat magazines for a feature on their very competitive section Editor’s Pick. He also received a 2010 Grammy Nomination in the Best Latin Jazz Album of the Year category. In 2008 The Jazz Corner nominated Elio Villafranca as pianist of the year. That year, Mr. Villafranca was also honored by BMI with the BMI Jazz Guaranty Award and received the first NFA/Heineken Green Ribbon Master Artist Music Grant for the creation of his Concerto for Mariachi, for Afro-Cuban Percussion and Symphony Orchestra. Finally, his first album, Incantations/ Encantaciones, featuring Pat Martino, Terell Stafford, and Dafnis Prieto was ranked amongst the 50 best jazz albums of the year by JazzTimes magazine in 2003.

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News: Performance / Tour

Elio Villafranca And The Jass Syncopators Take A Musical Journey From Cuba To New York on Friday April 26, 2024

Elio Villafranca And The Jass Syncopators Take A Musical Journey From Cuba To New York on Friday April 26, 2024

TRAVEL THE “CROSSROADS FROM CUBA TO NEW YORK” Elio Villafranca & The Jass Syncopators featuring Brianna Thomas head to City College Center for the Arts for a special concert on Friday, April 26 at 7 p.m. Elio Villafranca & The Jass Syncopators will take the stage at Aaron Davis Hall on Friday, April 26, for a ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

A Few More of My Favorite 2023 Jazz Things - Part 3

Read "A Few More of My Favorite 2023 Jazz Things - Part 3" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu


A playlist with a few more among the songs that we have collected through the past six months with a plan to share them, all at once, in an attempt to close out the year under more than a few good notes. Happy listening! Playlist Ben Allison “Mondo Jazz Theme (feat. ...

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Article: Year in Review

Ludovico Granvassu's Garden of Jazzy Delights 2023

Read "Ludovico Granvassu's Garden of Jazzy Delights 2023" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu


If it is true that, like The Police once put it, “when the world is going down you make the best of what's still around," then throughout 2023 jazz fans were better off than most other social groups. In a year in which everyday news brought ever more inconceivable disappointments, jazz musicians, labels, festivals and venues ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

Elio Villafranca, Azmari, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Gonzalo Rubalcaba & More

Read "Elio Villafranca, Azmari, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Gonzalo Rubalcaba & More" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu


Seven days have flown by, and seven days were barely enough to go through another big pile of wonderful new and upcoming albums which we are featuring this week focusing on some captivating and forward looking projects, and several new albums that bring together jazz and the musical traditions of Cuba and Puerto Rico.Happy ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

Brave New Year!

Read "Brave New Year!" reviewed by Michael Ambrosino


2023 enters with the bang of the drumbeat of many new remarkable albums. Hear some of the most exciting voices featuring the music of Joe Locke, Kurt Elling & Charlie Hunter, Malcolm Strachan, Nicholas Payton, Elio Villafranca, Manzanita Quintet, Bobby Watson, Richie Goods & Chien Chien Lu, Tawanda, Snarky Puppy, Lakecia Benjamin and much, much more! ...

Album

Standing by The Crossroads

Label: ArtistShare
Released: 2022
Track listing: Standing by The Crossroads; Habana Blues Chronicle; Solitaria; Panal de Abejas; Picture Window; I Belong to You; Keep the Eyes on the Bull; San Isidro - Part I; San Isidro _ Part II; Song for Freedom; Yo Soy Lori Oba; No Man's Land.

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News: Performance / Tour

Get A Taste Of Elio Villafranca's Upcoming Release 'Standing By The Crossroads' At Smoke in NYC from Sept. 29 to Oct. 2!

Get A Taste Of Elio Villafranca's Upcoming Release 'Standing By The Crossroads' At Smoke in NYC from Sept. 29 to Oct. 2!

Elio Villafranca leads his exciting group the Jazz Syncopators. Villafranca is spellbinding pianist who has recorded and performed with master artists such as Pat Martino, Terell Stafford, Billy Hart, Paquito D'Rivera, Eric Alexander, Lewis Nash, David Murray, and Wynton Marsalis. He brings an original musical perspective and is at the forefront of an exciting new generation ...

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News: Performance / Tour

World-Renowned SMOKE Jazz Club Announces October Schedule Including Dizzy Gillespie/Charlie Parker Celebration

World-Renowned SMOKE Jazz Club Announces October Schedule Including Dizzy Gillespie/Charlie Parker Celebration

Album Release Concert: Elio Villafranca & The Jass Syncopators (Sep 29-Oct 2) Bird & Diz: Dizzy Gillespie Celebration (Oct 14-16) The Music of Monk: Lovano, Hays, Street, and Foster (Oct 20-23) and more... One of New York City’s premier live music venues, Smoke Jazz Club, presents a stellar line-up of both legendary jazz performers and emerging ...

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Article: Album Review

Chris Oatts: Personalities

Read "Personalities" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer


Saxophonist Chris Oatts is a graduate of the jazz program at Temple University's Boyer College of Music and Dance and the nephew of revered saxophonist—and faculty member of Temple University—Dick Oatts. This reviewer heard Chris Oatts at Chris' Jazz Café (similarity in the names purely coincidental) in September, 2021, with his quintet featuring one of his ...


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