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Dafnis Prieto Proverb Trio: Dafnis Prieto Proverb Trio

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Composition is a challenging and elusive craft at the best of times, so it’s undeniably impressive that the Proverb Trio can practice it spontaneously with such cohesion and invention. The trio, led by Dafnis Prieto, collectively improvises songs based around the Cuban-born percussionist’s multifaceted rhythms, with Jason Lindner on electronic keyboards and Kokayi freestyling lyrics and vocal percussion.

Live, watching these rhythms gel into something so accessible and kinetic must be a blast; on record, unfortunately, the construction is not so fascinating and the architecture is repeatedly revealed to be flimsy. In utilizing improvisation to achieve concise songs, the trio too often ends up with a compromise exposing the worst of both worlds: The invention is restrained in service of creating recognizable structure, while collective co-writing results in songs that are approachable but unmemorable.

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