CHICK COREA AFRO-CARIBBEAN EXPERIENCE WITH ELIO VILLAFRANCA AND FRIENDS - DIZZY'S CLUB - JANUARY 13th!
Chick Corea was quoted in a 2019 Billboard interview as saying, "That [Latin] flavor, I find, is mostly in everything I do; it's a part of me." For tonight's celebration of Jazz icon Chick Corea, who tragically passed away in 2020, Cuban pianist Elio Villafranca will delve into the maestro's music from a distinctly Afro-Caribbean meets Jazz perspective, joined by a cadre of master musicians. When Jazz at Lincoln Center hosted a week-long Chick Corea Festival in 2013, Chick hand-picked the musicians he wanted to see and hear at Dizzy's, with Elio Villafranca being one of them. Chick's masterful storytelling knew no bounds—from Bach and Bartok to the Blues, from Stravinksy to Samba, Mozart to Montunos, Ravel and Rhumba—all tempered with the language of swing with the Spanish Tinge.
Elio Villafranca, piano
Scott Wendholt, trumpet
Donny McCaslin, tenor saxophone
Edward Perez, bass
Eric Harland, drums
Mauricio Herrera, percussion
Live Performance at Jazz at Lincoln Center's intimate jazz lounge, Dizzy's Club in New York City
Born in the province of Pinar del Río, Cuba, Steinway Artist and cultural activist, pianist and composer Elio Villafranca is a 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship recipient; a two-time Grammy nominee; 2019 Downbeat Critic's Poll Rising Stars Pianist; winner of the 2018 Downbeat Critic's Poll Rising Stars Keyboard; first Cuban born recipient of the Sunshine Award (2017), founded to recognize excellence in the performing arts, education, science and sports of the various Caribbean countries, South America, Centro America, and Africa; and a recipient of the first Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) Millennium Swing Award in 2014.
Villafranca was classically trained in piano, percussion, and composition at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, Cuba. Since his arrival to the U.S. in 1995, he's been at the forefront of today's pianists and composers, fusing classical and jazz with music from the African diaspora. Based in NYC, Villafranca is a jazz faculty member at The Juilliard School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, New York University, and Temple University in Philadelphia.
"Pianist and composer Elio Villafranca is an inspired and visionary musician. With his band, The Jass Syncopators, Elio expands what Jelly Roll Morton called The Spanish Tinge to what Elio calls The Caribbean Tinge. The band swings hard and brings a traditional yet innovative style to the roots of jazz and Afro Caribbean music. I am profoundly moved by Elio's vision and musicianship. He is a treasured member of the family here at Jazz at Lincoln Center."
"Elio's music is passionate. A brand new application of ancient ways."
"Elio Villafranca writes and plays with passion and a deep understanding of musical nuance, with chops equal to some of the greatest pianists Cuba has ever produced."
"The musical history of Cuba is full of extraordinary pianists. Elio Villafranca is amongst the best representatives of the new generation of Cuban pianists and composers…"
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