As much a composer and educator as a performer, the drummer Dafnis Prieto doesn't take the well-trodden path of Latin jazz. While his lively compositions bear the rhythmic stamp of his native Cuba, the impression is on the molecular level. His music is not tethered to popular dance and folk traditions but is intimately informed by them. Adept at subdividing handed-down patterns and rearranging them into his own engaging rhythm puzzles, Prieto earned a MacArthur Fellowship "genius grant" in 2011.
Part of a new generation of young Cuban jazz artists living in New York, Prieto made waves on his arrival in 1999 for his technique and original writing, brought to life on a set of trapset drums customized to incorporate all the colors of Afro-Cuban percussion. Lately, he's been inspired by India's musical language, as well as live hip-hop. He brings his jazz sextet, a band of three Cubans, two Bay Area Californians and one German. —Sylvia Pfeiffenberger