By John Ephland
For five days in early May, Cuban pianist/composer Elio Villafranca set up shop at Systems Two, the state-of-the-art recording studio in Brooklyn, to record his sixth album, Cinqué (ArtistShare). The program, which includes five movements, contains music he had performed onstage at Jazz at Lincoln Center in 2015.
By Raul da Gama
It is three days before my scheduled interview with the musician and pianist Elio Villafranca. I have long been fascinated by his ferocious talent—indeed his genius—not only as a pianist, but also for the depth of his musicianship. Mr. Villafranca is subsumed by the Afro-Caribbean tradition. His knowledge and love for the music of his ancestors has led him to acquire a deep knowledge of the history not only of Cuban music, but also of its African roots as well.
By Shaun Brady
Born in Cuba and classically trained, pianist Elio Villafranca has long offered a unique take on Latin jazz, foregoing the reliance on percussion pyrotechnics for a more fully integrated blend of his varied interests. That’s not to say that he can’t bring the fire when it’s called for, as he does on “Mambo Vivo,” a lively tribute to Pérez Prado on his new CD, which was recorded live in 2012 at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.
By Laurence A. Borden
Elio Villafranca is a gifted modern day musician traversing in both jazz and classical terrains. Born in a little town called San Luis, Cuba, in the western province of Pinar del Rio, Elio is the recipient of numerous industry accolades and awards, including one of the 50 best jazz albums of the year by JazzTimes in 2003, the pianist of the year by The Jazz Corner in 2008, the BMI Jazz Guaranty Award in 2008, the first NFA/Heineken Green Ribbon Master Artist Music Grant in the same year, and last but certainly not least, a 2010 Grammy “Best Traditional World Music Album” Award nomination for his performance composition and coproduction in his album, The Source In Between. He is the forerunner in today’s Cuban Jazz scene.
Cuban Jazz Pianist/Composer/Producer Elio Villafranca makes his 2nd appearance on The Producer's Corner with Spud Too Tight to discuss his 2010 GRAMMY nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album of the Year in the 2010 Latin Grammy Awards in Chembo Corniel's Album Things I wanted to Do, in which Mr. Villafranca collaborated as pianist and co-producer. Also, he is the pianist in the recently released album by John Santos y El Coro Folklorico Kindembo, La Guerra No, which was also nominated for Best Traditional World Music Album in the 2010 Latin Grammy Awards."