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ALBUM REVIEW: "Triangles and Circles" 

Dafnis Prieto Sextet

"Triangles and Circles"

Dafnison Music

I've heard him play dazzling percussion in so many settings over the years that I thought I knew Dafnis Prieto. He was simply one of the greatest drummers playing today. With the release of his new sextet album, "Triangles and Circles," I have to reconsider Prieto and add a few things to the list: composer and arranger. I can't stop playing this album; the tunes are just too good and the arrangements make them even better. A Cuban native, Prieto brings the beguiling Afro-Cuban music of his culture to every cut.

Turns out Prieto has released six albums as a leader since 2005; I'm just catching up. No small part of the magic here comes from the great band he's assembled including Peter Apfelbaum and Felipe Lamoglia on saxophones; Mike Rodriguez, trumpet; Manuel Valera, piano; and Johannes Weidenmueller, bass. Every solo is magnificent, but it's the group work that really stands out on the title tune and many others. Aside from his distinct voicings, Prieto is percussive even when he is arranging horn parts, and that may be his secret ingredient on this brilliant album.

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