Frank Villafañe
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Frank Villafañe


Band Latin Jazz


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"Rafe Gomez, Spinmeister"

"If you're looking to be transported from your workaday grind into a lush, sensual domain where your mind and ears will be gently massaged, indulge yourself by experiencing the tasty Latin Jazz vibe of Frank Villafañe.

His gorgeous EP South Beach will instantly transport you to your favorite tropical vacation destination. His production, playing, and sense of melody will impress you with each listen.

Frank's music will be the most inexpensive - yet thoroughly satisfying - vacation you've ever taken!"
- The Groove Boutique/NYC - QCD 101.9 (

"Francesco Emmanuel, Associate Music Reviewer"

"South Beach is a 5-song instrumental masterpiece by Frank Villafañe. The songs are well crafted, superbly produced and if they don’t get you off your chair and dancing, well, something is wrong with you! Seriously!

On this EP, Frank composed, arranged and played all the parts to every single song, he also recorded this lil gem in his home studio. The feel from each song gives the impression that this is a live recording, straight off-the-floor, it’s that good! Each track has a great flow to it...

There are some albums you like immediately, and this was one that got me going right away. If you’ve never taken a trip to South Beach, Frank Villafañe’s latest will take you there...only problem is, you may not wanna leave."
- The Muses Muses (

"Can't Find Love featured track"

The song "Can't Find Love" from the CD "South Beach" is featured on the Drums On Demand web site. - Drums On Demand (

"South Beach Track-of-the-Day"

The song "South Beach", title-track from the CD of the same name, was a featured Track-Of-The-Day at the MusicTech Magazine page on Myspace. - Musictech Magazine (

"South Beach CD Press Release"

“South Beach is an instrumental Latin Jazz excursion consisting of five compositions; however, South Beach is not your typical Latin Jazz release. Each piece is an eclectic mix of Afro-Cuban and Brazilian percussion, overlaid with poignant harmonic melodies furnished by acoustic/electric piano and vibraphone, while an acoustic bass pulsates hypnotically. Mostly hot, sometimes cool, but always engaging, South Beach is as diverse and exciting as the famous beach for which it was named.”

Another Latin Jazz CD from yet another Latin Jazz artist? OK...what makes this one different?

For starters, all the songs were composed by one person...arranged and performed by the same person...and produced by the very same person! In other words, this Latin Jazz CD is as unique as the artist who composed, arranged, performed and produced it.

Frank Villafañe is the person in question, and he represents a new breed of Latin Jazz artist - one who believes good quality music, in particular Latin Jazz, can be produced independently. His debut CD, South Beach, is a testament to that belief. One listen, and you'll be a believer as well.

Born of Puerto Rican and German parents in Bremerhaven, Germany, Frank's upbringing was as multi-cultural as bratwurst and rice and beans. Playing piano from age 8, Frank grew up studying the classics and listening to all kinds of music, from Belafonte to Zappa. His father's career was the Air Force, so Frank traveled extensively during the first half of his life.

His music is just as eclectic as his upbringing, with a strong melodic basis planted firmly in classical theory, yet permeated with new world rhythm and harmony; Afro-Cuban and Brazilian percussion punctuating and embellishing each musical statement in a synergistic blend that is greater than the sum of its parts. And no wonder, since his strongest influences are Sergio Mendes, Eddie Palmieri, Pedro "Peruchin" Justiz and Kenny Barron (his last piano teacher).

Frank has played extensively with numerous Latin Jazz and Salsa conjuntos for the last 30 years, and has shared the stage with no less than the great Eddie Palmieri (one of his aforementioned influences), as well as other Latin Jazz luminaries such as Jose Alberto "El Canario", Richie Flores, Mario Rivera, Louis Romero, Chris Washburne, and many others. Frank is a veteran sideman who has recently embarked on a solo career with this debut release.

# # #
- Frank Villafañe, Latin Jazz artist releases his debut CD, South Beach

"Henry Mora, Latin Jazz Artist"

“Fresh new sounds from pianist Frank Villafañe and his debut CD, South Beach, a musical excursion into life’s adventure; a breezy beach landscape, that pleases the senses considerably by taking you through an exciting musical journey of original melodies punctuated by Caribbean rhythms.

The repertoire is bright and tasty instrumental piano compositions in a style reminiscent of Ahmad Jamal’s and Eddie Cano’s legendary styles, although his noted musical influences are Eddie Palmieri, Pedro ‘Peruchin’ Justiz and Sergio Mendes (of Brazil ’66). This brings to mind the excellently arranged and interpreted Brazilian rhythms on two of the tunes, as well as definitive Salsa rhythms in clave on other tunes, all very well done. Frank may have musical heroes, having been influenced by legendary pianists, but he’s also an excellent arranger, composer and soloist on keyboard. Also worth mentioning is an outstanding vibraphone solo on "I Heard The Bells".

Sit back in your beach chair, absorb the balmy Miami sun and cool off with a frozen piña colada while Frank Villafañe’s South Beach CD plays you a set of inspired, expressive, delightful and refreshing musical ideas that spark the imagination.

This album is nothing less than great Latin Jazz.”
- Director, The Henry Mora Orchestra (

"Rebeca Mauleon, Musician/Composer/Educator"

"Frank’s passion for the wealth of Latin rhythms is clear; his music takes the listener on a journey to Cuba, Brazil and back, and he does it all himself – from the performing to the production. A one-man band, Villafañe shows it doesn’t necessarily take two (or more) to tango, or in this case, to mambo!"
- Author "Salsa Guidebook" (

"Antojos De Mi Tierra on Sony BMG Compilation CD!"

The second track from the South Beach CD, Antojos De Mi Tierra, has been included in the Sony BMG Hot Salsa! Compilation CD. -,hot+salsa.html


South Beach EP



Frank Villafañe - Latin Jazz Arranger, Composer & Performer

Frank Villafañe is a Latin-Jazz pianist, composer and arranger. He plays piano 'con clave' in the styles of Eddie Palmieri, Sergio Mendes and Pedro ‘Peruchin’ Justiz, whom he counts as influences. Born in Bremerhaven, Germany, son of Mike and Elfriede Villafañe, Frank grew up all over the United States and Europe, and experienced multi-culturalism first-hand. Musically, as in life, Frank's upbringing was fairly eclectic, being exposed to Latin, Jazz, Calypso, Folk, and the Classics early on. He began piano lessons in earnest at the tender age of 8. This interest in music was sustained throughout the moves over two continents during his formative years.

At twelve, Frank moved to Puerto Rico, and was quickly exposed to that infectious music known as 'salsa'; but it was Frank's 7th grade music teacher which provided the impetus fueling his musical direction - he heard an original copy of "Maple Leaf Rag" played by the composer Scott Joplin himself, and was forever changed. Moving back to the States, at Whiteman AFB, MO, Frank quickly acquired and studied the musical form, Ragtime, and earned his first paying "gig" as a professional musician at the age of 14, when he performed many Ragtime favorites by Scott Joplin and other Ragtime greats, for the WAFB Officers Club at a Roaring 20's theme party. Meanwhile, Frank's father continued his influence by encouraging him to listen and emulate several great Latin pianists, notably Sergio Mendes (of Brasil 66 fame) and the Cuban legend Pedro ‘Peruchin’ Justiz.

In college, at Rutgers University, Frank began playing piano for a number of Jazz & Latin 'conjunto' style bands and orchestras, while studying piano with no less than the great Kenny Barron. He was immersed in theory and keyboard harmony classes at Rutgers and studied at the feet of Walter Bishop Jr, Ted Dunbar, Frank Foster and Larry Ridley.

Since, Frank has performed with many Latin-Jazz and 'salsa conjuntos', including a number of his own groups. Frank has opened twice (2000 & 2005) for Eddie Palmieri (one of his aforementioned influences), and appeared twice (2001 & 2005) at the prestigious Red Bank RiverFest Jazz Festival, and has recorded a number of projects.

In between performing and recording, Frank composes all his music on his software studio.