Dafnis Prieto Big Band

Produced by Dafnis Prieto & Eric Oberstein

Music Director, Composer & Drums

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From Santa Clara, Cuba, Dafnis Prieto’s revolutionary drumming techniques and compositions have had a powerful impact on the Latin and Jazz music scene, nationally and internationally.

Various awards include a 2011 MacArthur Fellowship, Up & Coming Musician of the Year from the Jazz Journalists Association in 2006, a GRAMMY nomination for Absolute Quintet as Best Latin Jazz Album, and a Latin GRAMMY nomination for Best New Artist in 2007. Also a gifted educator, Prieto has conducted master classes, clinics, and workshops throughout the world. He was a faculty member of Jazz Studies at NYU from 2005 to 2014, and in 2015 became a faculty member at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami.

Since his arrival to New York in 1999, Prieto has worked in bands led by Henry Threadgill, Steve Coleman, Eddie Palmieri, Chico and Arturo O’Farrill, Dave Samuels and The Caribbean Jazz Project, Jane Bunnett, D.D. Jackson, Edward Simon, Michel Camilo, Chucho Valdés, Bebo Valdés, Roy Hargrove, Don Byron, and Andrew Hill, among others. He has performed at many national and international music festivals as a sideman and as a bandleader featuring several of his own projects and music.

As a composer, he has created music for dance, film, chamber ensembles, and most notably for his own bands, ranging from duets to his “Small Big Band” and including the distinctively different groups featured on six acclaimed recordings as a leader: About The MonksAbsolute QuintetTaking the Soul For a WalkSi o Si Quartet: Live at Jazz StandardDafnis Prieto Proverb Trio, and Triangles and Circles. He has received commissions, grants, and fellowships from Chamber Music America, Jazz at Lincoln Center, East Carolina University, and Meet the Composer. In 2016 Prieto published the critically acclaimed drumming instructional book, A World of Rhythmic Possibilities: Drumming Lessons and Reflections on Rhythms.

Prieto is the founder of the independent music company Dafnison Music. He endorses Yamaha Drums, Sabian Cymbals, Latin Percussion, Evans Drumheads, and Vic Firth Sticks.


Eric Oberstein is a GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY-winning producer, arts administrator, musician, educator, and consultant. Oberstein currently serves as Associate Director of Duke Performances, the professional performing arts presenting organization at his alma mater, Duke University. Prior to returning to Duke, Oberstein served as Executive Director of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, the New York-based non-profit that supports the GRAMMY-winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra (ALJO), directed by Arturo O’Farrill.

A New York-born saxophonist and drummer of Cuban American descent, Oberstein is proud to be collaborating with Cuban drummer, composer, and educator Dafnis Prieto on the launch of the Dafnis Prieto Big Band. Oberstein has previously produced six albums with Arturo O’Farrill, ranging from solo piano to big bands, earning multiple GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY Awards and nominations. Credits include: Cuba: The Conversation Continues (2015); The Offense of the Drum (2014); Final Night at Birdland (2013); The Noguchi Sessions (2012); 40 Acres and a Burro (2011); and Risa Negra (2009).

In 2010 Oberstein produced the Chico O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra’s tour to Cuba, returning legendary Cuban composer and arranger Chico O’Farrill’s musicians to his homeland for headlining performances at the 26th edition of the Havana International Jazz Plaza Festival.

At Duke Performances, Oberstein works with a team committed to presenting willfully eclectic, forward-thinking performing arts of the highest quality. He manages visiting artist residencies that engage both Duke’s campus and the broader Durham community by artists that have included The Bad Plus, Jason Moran, Jenny Scheinman, Gerald Clayton, Ana Tijoux, Saul Williams, Urban Bush Women, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, and many others.

Oberstein holds Master’s degrees in Arts Administration and Arts in Education from Columbia University and Harvard University, respectively. He earned his undergraduate degree with distinction from Duke University.