Born: December 28, 1954 Primary Instrument: Violin
Alfredo Triff is a violinist and composer. He studied at the National Conservatory of Music in Havana at age seven, under the direction of Radosvet Bojadieff.
During the 1970's Triff borrowed from contemporary music trends from Europe and the U.S. and made music combining avant-garde traditions and elements from the son montuno.
Shortly after, Triff founded Arte Vivo, a group of four instrumentalist-composers, involved with the contemporary music scene in Havana. Arte Vivo worked together composers such as Leo Brower, Luigi Nono, Werner Hanz, Tischenko and others who visited the island at the time.
Not happy with the socio-political situation in the island, Triff left Cuba for the U.S. in 1980. He ended up in New York, where he relocated. After contacting other Latin musicians, he got gigs with many of the well-known Charanga bands in the city.
By the mid 1980’s Triff was playing with well-known musicians of New York underground music scene. In 1985, he started a long collaboration with Kip Harahan, a well-known composer and record producer. He played and recorded with Eddie Palmieri in his album “Sueño.”
From 1988-1990, Triff became a violinist in Hanrahan’s band, collaborating until this day in albums such as Vertical Currency, Tenderness, Shadow Nights, Exotica, and many others.
In 2001 Triff made his first album, 21 Broken Melodies with American Clave. The Paris-based magazine Vibrations nominated the album “best new CD for 2001,” and “one of ten best of 2001” at the Billboard.com. He is featured in Jack Bruce’s last album “Shadows in the Air” and performed with his touring band.
From 2003-2006, Triff composed and produced Boleros Perdidos, a song-cycle for voice, bass, drums, violin, congas and DJ and finished Mindtrance, an electronic music album. Boleros Perdidos debuted at Hoy Como Ayer in October 2007.
Update for 2008/2009: Triff composed the music for Leon Ichaso's PARAÍSO, which premiered at the International Miami Film Festival. February, 2009:Assaig general@La Capella, Barcelona with Alfredo Triff (vln), Robee Ameen (drums), Rosie Inguanzo (performer). April, 2009: dadaSON @The Colony Theater, Miami Beach, with Alfredo Triff Trio + invited guests. Also, Triff finished dadaSON the album, featuring Alfredo Triff Trio: Daniel Ponce on congas, Alex Berti on bass and Triff on violin. Special appearance by singer Roberto Poveda.
A natural sequel to “21 Broken Melodies” and “Boleros Perdidos,” Alfredo Triff has, with this work, stripped the colors of Cuban music of all outdated stereotypes. Rumba, habanera and charanga become overexposed with an abstract minimalism. Composed of fifteen vignettes, dadaSON is dedicated to “all the anarchists of the soul.” The album offers the look of an exile of his own tradition, to the point that Triff displays the famous urinal, good old Marcel’s throne as album cover.
Listen to haunting violin loops, complex percussive rhythms (by conga player Daniel Ponce), Roberto Poveda’s disenchanted voice accompanied by a piano’s brooding melody. Building from the fragments of memory and Surreal fantasy, the composer/philosopher builds a world of the underworld, with all its nomadic transgressions. It even recalls his producer Kip Hanrahan, with whom Triff has attained some serious highs of dark beauty.- Jacques Denis, Vibrations Magazine.__________
Triff’s dadaSON works like a narrative, a scenic setting, or a delirium that is everywhere: poetry with tumbao, Cubist rumba fragmented with guaguanco passages. The album facilitates a thousand and one interpretations: The more the better. Of course, nothing makes the experience richer than to become an active listener.
Triff’s music is not outwardly complex, but if you miss a beat you miss a lot. With his trio (with the great Daniel Ponce on congas and Alex Berti’s volcanic playing on bass), DadaSON makes for a soundtrack of pure aesthetic provocation. Don’t get intimidated. Triff understands the clave of the rumba played on a chair’s skin in the slum as well as the intellectual cerebrations out a brilliant chess move by Marcel Duchamp. Eliseo Cardona, www.bluemonkmoods.com.__________
Listening to dadaSON, I found myself being somewhere in Budapest, or was it Cuba, or was it Eastern Europe. No, it was New York. It could have been anywhere. One of the things I love most about Triff’s latest recorded effort is the simplicity of instrumentation. This CD is NOT overproduced. Every composition is beautiful, nicely arranged, well recorded and mixed. “Caca de cuna” is a duet with maracas and piano that struck me as especially sweet in its simplicity. “Crimen fatal” is as soulful as it gets,” a wonderful trio piece with Misael Valera piano, Roberto Poveda, vocal and Triff on Violin. Rosie Inguanzo’s vocal on “Conejo crispado” is like the voice on an angel. Sensitive, heartfelt and again, musically simply stated.
In my judgment, Alfredo is clearly educated. He attended the National Conservatory of Music in Havana. But it’s as if he did his homework and then forgot about all that and got in touch with his soul. Actually, Alfredo strikes me as someone who got in touch with his music long before school -early in his life. dadaSON perfectly represents his technique, compositional and arranging skills. While the compositions and arrangements may be Alfredo’s, and while Alfredo may be the featured artist on the CD, it’s not just all about Alfredo, it’s clear to me that for Triff, it’s about the MUSIC. The arrangements let the ensemble breath. Each performer has their statement and they all say it well. The musicians selected for the session were perfect. There isn’t anything I don’t like about Triff’s latest work and I highly recommend it. Steve Barta, Review you.com
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