The New York Times has compared the arrival of Dafnis Prieto in the U.S. to the landing of an asteroid. Indeed, within a short period his groundbreaking drumming techniques have had a powerful impact on both the Latin and jazz music scene, locally and internationally. Having studied at the school of Fine Arts in Santa Clara and later at the National School of Music in Havana, Prieto obtained a thorough classical education while broadening his knowledge of Afro-Cuban music, jazz and world music outside of the academy.
He first toured Europe with pianists Carlos Maza and Ramon Valle and the pioneering group “Columna B.” In the seven years that he has lived in New York, he has played in bands led by Henry Threadgill, Steve Coleman, Eddie Palmieri, Chico and Arturo O'Farrill, Dave Samuels & The Caribbean Jazz Project, Jane Bunnett, Peter Apfelbaum, D.D. Jackson, Edward Simon, Michel Camilo, Chucho Valdez, Claudia Acuna, Roy Hargrove, Don Byron, Andrew Hill and Jerry Gonzalez, among others. He has performed at many national and international music festivals as a sideman and as bandleader.
As a composer, he has created highly distinctive music for dance, film, chamber groups and for his own band projects which have ranged from duets to a “Small Big Band.” He has received commissions, grants, and fellowships from Chamber Music America, Jazz at Lincoln Center, East Carolina University, and Meet the Composer, as well as from various new music ensembles. Also a gifted educator, Prieto has conducted numerous master classes, clinics, and workshops. Since 2005, he has been teaching as a visiting professor at NYU (New York University.)
Dafnis currently leads three groups – the Latin jazz ensemble heard on his 2005 debut CD “About The Monks,” the band featured on his second album, “Absolute Quintet,” which includes violin, cello, and Hammond organ and this Sextet new Album "Taking the Soul for a Walk" released for Dafnison Music (CDs released on Zoho Music.) “Absolute Quintet” is nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album in 2006. Dafnis Prieto is nominated for Latin Grammy Award for Best New Artist, 2007.