Boston Globe, February 24, 2012
NEW YORK – In a prominent spot on the shelf in the peaceful living room of drummer Dafnis Prieto’s apartment in Washington Heights sits a row of books on one of Prieto’s favorite subjects: optical illusions. Close by is a stack of volumes on an artist famous for his use of illusion, Salvador Dalí.
A drummer and bandleader who has become one of the most prolific and well-regarded in his craft since emigrating from Cuba to New York in 1999, Prieto, 37, pays proper respect to his predecessors on the skins, from Art Blakey to Jack DeJohnette. But when the topic of influences comes up, Prieto is just as likely to point to the Spanish surrealist painter.
“Dalí is very organic, very natural, and has that scientific knowledge as well,’’ says Prieto. “He was very science-oriented but without forgetting natural instincts and beliefs. He declared himself a mystic. It’s kind of contradictory, but that made him who he was, and he’s a great influence on me.’’