Elio Villafranca Trio :: Brilliant Steinway Pianist From Cuba

Latin Jazz fans celebrate the appearance in Denver of Elio Villafranca who is at the forefront of the latest generation of remarkable Cuban pianists, composers and bandleaders that for several years has been making major creative contributions to the international development of modern jazz. In the 2010 Grammy Awards he was nominated in Best Latin Jazz Album of the Year. Elio Villafranca is an official Steinway Artist. Baur’s is honored to feature Elio with his Trio unveiling new work and selections from his acclaimed recordings, brought to you by KUVO, KBNO and your Music Appreciation Society.

Born in the Pinar del Río province of Western Cuba, pianist and composer Elio Villafranca was classically trained in percussion and composition at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, Cuba. Since his arrival in the U.S. in late 1995, he has been involved in jazz and Latin jazz scenes on both the East and West Coasts. Based in New York City, he is resident professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.

Elio EmbeddedHe has released numerous albums as a bandleader and collaborator that were each well received. Currently touring in support of albums “Dos Y Mas” with percussionist Arturo Stabile and with his band the Jazz Syncopators new live album “Caribbean Tinge” and working on new material with his Trio and Quartet.

His album, “The Source in Between”, 2007, remained in the top 10 of the JazzWeek World Top 50 Chart for eleven weeks, and his first album, “Incantations/Encantaciones”, was ranked amongst the 50 best jazz albums of the year by JazzTimes magazine in 2003. In 2008 Elio Villafranca was also nominated by The Jazz Corner as pianist of the year and he received the Jazz Twirlie Nomination by Dick Crockett, of “The Voice” at 88.7FM, for his album The Source In Between.

That year, Mr. Villafranca was also honored by BMI with the BMI Jazz Guaranty Award and received the first NFA/Heineken Green Ribbon Master Artist Music Grant for the creation of his Concerto for Mariachi, for Afro-Cuban Percussion and Symphony Orchestra. Villafranca was also pianist in the CD La Guerra No by John Santos Y El Coro Folklorico Kindembo, which was nominated in the 2010 Grammy Awards as Best Traditional World Music Album. Over the years Elio Villafranca’s music has featured jazz master artists such as Pat Martino, Jane Bunnett, Terell Stafford, and Eric Alexander, among other notable instrumentalists.

Elio has also performed nationally and internationally  as a sideman he has collaborated with leading jazz and Latin jazz artists including: Wynton Marsalis; Jon Faddis; Sonny Fortune; Giovanni Hidalgo; Eddie Henderson; Miguel Zenón; Cándido Camero; and Johnny Pacheco.

Villafranca has toured Europe and has performed at various world renowned venues and events including the Blue Note Jazz Festival in Ghent, Belgium; at the Blue Note Jazz Club in Milan and the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy; at the North Sea Jazz Festival at The Hague, Holland, the Guinness Jazz Festival and a national tour of Ireland.

Baur’s is delighted to bring this important International talent to Denver for a one-of-a-kind evening of sophisticated, Latin flavored Jazz with the brilliant playing of Elio Villafranca on the “peoples piano”  in the Listening Lounge on the very musical Monday!



San Diego Union Tribune Elio Villafranca Interview 


Monday, October 26th  ::  7:00pm
Baur’s Listening Lounge
Elio Villafranca Trio
Dinner Reservations 303-615-4000
1512 Curtis Street
Denver, CO




Philadelphia Inquirer (Kevin L. Carter)

“Villafranca is an amazing soloist…. In a classical setting, [he] impresses with sweet precision rather than machismo.”

Jazz Times Magazine (Javier Quiñones)  

“Loaded, technically superior, sharp and romantic pianism…”

Philadelphia Tribune (Steve Bryn)

“… Villafranca emotes an expressive, emotional quality enhanced by his technically brilliant approach to the keyboard and his rhythmically complex original compositions..”

“This is, quite simply, craftsmanship at its finest and it goes beyond mere technique… The other outstanding aspect of the music is how inspired the compositions are.” – Latin Jazz Network

“An absolutely stunning 5 star showcase” – Critical Jazz

“the songs on the recording feel inspired, passionate, and innovative, yet familiar.” – Whole Music Experience

“simply smashing.” – Midwest Record

“These open-minded musical sculptors created this music for those with open ears to absorb and enjoy it.” – All About Jazz

“Stable’s flamenco-influenced “Vertiente” finds Villafranca stirring an improvised pot of Afro-Cuban subtleties with a dash of Chick Corea” – The Jazz Word