Jazz musician Dafnis Prieto performs in the MPR studios

Dafnis Prieto
Jazz percussionist and composer Dafnis Prieto warms up in Studio M Friday, April 20, 2012 before an interview with the Daily Circuit's Tom Weber.
MPR Photo/Jennifer Simonson

MacArthur Fellow Dafnis Prieto was in the Twin Cities recently and came by the MPR studios to talk to The Daily Circuit about his music and perform.

Known as a 'genius grant' recipient, he's well known and respected within the jazz scene where he performs and composes, but isn't as widely known among the general population.

His arrival in the United States from his native Cuba has been compared to that of an "asteroid hitting New York." He made a huge splash on the jazz scene with his Afro-Cuban drum work.

He has recorded a new album that will be released this summer that focuses on another aspect of his music: vocal improv. It's very much in the spirit of the 'scat' that Ella Fitzgerald made so famous. But when you hear it here, you'll note it sounds completely different, but just as impressive.

Did he first learn sheet music before he moved to improv?

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