Cuban-born and -educated drummer and composer Dafnis Prieto has increasingly made a name for himself since taking up residency in New York a decade ago. A blazingly dexterous virtuoso master of the drum kit, he's played with dozens of premier Latin and jazz players, ranging from Henry Threadgill and Eddie Palmieri to Don Byron, while writing for film, dance, chamber groups, and his own bands. Prieto is unique in synthesizing the myriad facets of Afro-Cuban rhythms with gnarly post-bop jazz and elements of the avant-garde, creating compositions that pulse and twitch and flow through layers of remarkable texture and harmonic complexity. Prieto's own furious flurries amid constantly shifting and honed tempos ignite his intrepid band's splendid forays into territory littered with familiar bits that are yet startlingly fresh. His usual Si o Si Quartet includes fellow Cubans Manuel Valera (piano) and Charles Flores (bass) as well as veteran avant-jazz saxophonist Peter Apfelbaum, who are all phenomenal on their new album, Live at Jazz Standard NYC (Dafnison Music). At the Walker, that group will be expanded to include a couple of more heavyweights: trumpeter Ralph Alessi and saxophonist Felipe Lamoglia. In addition, Prieto will play a percussion piece to accompany a performance by his wife, Judith Sanchez Ruiz, a member of the Trisha Brown Dance Company.
Sat., Nov. 21, 8 p.m., 2009