Elio Villafranca

Elio Villafranca

BandJazzLatin

Biography

Pianist and composer Elio Villafranca was born in the Pinar del Rio province of Western Cuba and classically trained in percussion and composition at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, Cuba. Inspired by jazz and Afro Cuban music, Mr. Villafranca creates a unique cultural and musical fusion, with spirited, groundbreaking innovations. In 2003 Jazz Times Magazine recognized his reputation for musical excellence by selecting his debut album Incantations/Encantaciones (Universal/Pimienta) as one of the top 50 best jazz albums of the year. Since his arrival in the U.S., Mr. Villafranca has been involved in East and West coast jazz and Latin jazz scenes. Beyond mainstream press, Mr. Villafranca has gained recognition of Latin and jazz music elite. He has collaborated with Lenny White, Eric Alexander, Horacio "El Negro" Hernández, Ralph Peterson, Giovanni Hidalgo, Jon Faddis, Mark Egan, Terell Stafford, Eddie Henderson, Sonny Fortune, and Johnny Pacheco. Most recently Mr. Villafranca completed separate European tours with Grammy nominated Blue Note recording artists saxophonist Jane Bunnett, and guitarist Pat Martino. As part of Mr. Martino’s Quintet, Mr. Villafranca performed at various world-renowned venues including the Blue Note Jazz Festival in Ghent, Belgium, the Blue Note Jazz Club in Milan, Italy, the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy, the North Sea Jazz Festival at The Hague, Holland and Dizzy's Club "Coca Cola" at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. Mr. Villafranca is the author of Cubano! The Evolution of Popular Cuban Piano Styles (in press), has composed and arranged original music soundtracks for PBS documentaries and a variety of independent films, and is resident professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Mr. Villafranca currently resides in New York City and is represented by Gail Boyd Artist Management. His new CD entitled The Source in Between will be released in Fall, 2005. Touring to support that CD will be saxophonist Eric Alexander, Contrabassist Jeff Carney, drummer Francisco Mela. Each of these musicians has toured nationally and internationally with world renowned recording artists.