David Virelles

Last updated
David Virelles
Playing in Aarhus, Denmark
Background information
Born1983 (age 3839)
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
Years activeEarly 2000s–present
Labels Justin Time, Pi, ECM
At Cosmopolite Scene in Oslo, 2016. David Virelles Cosmopolite (203145).jpg
At Cosmopolite Scene in Oslo, 2016.

David Virelles (born 1983) is a Cuban jazz pianist and composer.


Early life

Virelles was born in Cuba in 1983 [1] and grew up in Santiago. [2] His father is José Aquiles, a singer-songwriter; [2] his mother was a Santiago de Cuba Symphony flautist. [1] Virelles started classical piano studies at the age of seven and heard various forms of Cuban music during his childhood. [1] He met Canadian musician Jane Bunnett in Cuba and she invited him to Toronto. [2] He eventually studied at the University of Toronto and Humber College. [3] Virelles also recorded and toured with Bunnett, [1] including for her 2001 album Alma de Santiago. [4] He started communicating via e-mail and telephone with Steve Coleman around 2006; the saxophonist gave him detailed responses to questions on music. [2]

Later life and career

A Canada Council for the Arts grant allowed Virelles to study with Henry Threadgill in New York. [2] Virelles moved to New York permanently in 2009 [1] and soon played with major jazz figures, including saxophonists Coleman, Chris Potter and Mark Turner. [2]

Virelles was part of a trio in 2010, with bassist Ben Street and drummer Andrew Cyrille, that played largely improvised music. [5] The pianist later added percussionist Román Díaz to this group. [5] In 2011, Virelles played prepared piano, celeste and harmonium on Potter's album The Sirens . [6] Virelles made his ECM Records leader debut with the 2014 release Mbókò. [7] The Guardian reviewer reported that "Virelles explores ancient Afro-Cuban sacred and ritual musics through imaginative fusions with contemporary materials. Mostly he does this by using the two basses as drones, mixing spacious chord-moods with bursts of startling improvisation in a flux of styles, and focusing much of the melody-playing on [the two] drummers." [7]


As leader/co-leader

Year recordedTitleLabelPersonnel/Notes
2008Motion Justin Time Most tracks quintet, with Luis Deniz (alto sax), Devon Henderson (bass), Ethan Ardelli (drums), Luis Obregoso (percussion); some tracks sextet, with Mark Turner (tenor sax), Jose Aquiles (vocals), or Pablosky Rosales (guitar) added; one track septet, with Turner (tenor sax), Celso Machado (vocals, gimbri) added
2012Continuum Pi Quartet, with Ben Street (bass), Andrew Cyrille (drums), Román Díaz (percussion)
2013Mbókò ECM Quintet, with Thomas Morgan and Robert Hurst (bass), Marcus Gilmore (drums), Roman Diaz (biankoméko, vocals)
2016Antenna ECM Nonet, with Alexander Overington (electronics, samples, cello), Henry Threadgill (alto Saxophone), Román Díaz (vocals), Marcus Gilmore (drums, MPC), Rafiq Bhatia (guitar), Etián Brebaje Man (vocals), Mauricio Herrera (percussion), Los Seres (percussion)
2016Gnosis ECM With Román Diaz (vocals, percussion), Allison Loggins-Hull (flute, piccolo), Rane Moore (clarinet, bass clarinet), Adam Cruz and Alex Lipowski (percussion), Matthew Gold (marimba, glockenspiel), Mauricio Herrera (ekón, nkomos, erikundi, claves, vocals), Thomas Morgan (bass), Yunior Lopez (viola), Cristine Chen and Samuel DeCaprio (violoncello), Melvis Santa (vocals)
2018Igbó Alákorin (The Singer's Grove) Vol. I & II Pi With José Ángel Martínez (bass), Lázaro Bandera (congas), Román Filiú (alto sax), René "La Flor" Domínguez (tenor sax), Baudelis Rodríguez (baritone sax), Abel Virelles (trumpet), Gabriel Montero (pailitas criollas, claves), Rafael Ábalos (timbal, güiro), Emilio Despaigne Robert and José Aquiles Virelles (vocals), Alejandro Almenares (requinto, vocals) [8]
2022Nuna Pi David Virelles (Steinway Model D Acoustic Piano; Marimbula), Julio Barreto (Percussion: Cajón, Guataca, Conga, Claves)

As sideman

Year recordedLeaderTitleLabel
2001 Jane Bunnett Alma de Santiago Blue Note
2002Jane BunnettCuban Odyssey Blue Note
2011 Chris Potter The Sirens ECM
2012 Tomasz Stańko Wisława ECM
2013Jonathan Finlayson & Sicilian Defense Moment And The Message Pi Recordings
2015 Henry Threadgill Old Locks and Irregular Verbs Pi Recordings
2016 Tomasz Stańko December Avenue ECM
2016 Chris Potter The Dreamer Is the Dream ECM
2018?Román FiliúQuarteria Sunnyside
2018Henry Threadgill 14 Or 15 Kestra: AggDirt... And More DirtPi Recordings
2018Henry ThreadgillDouble Up, Plays Double Up PlusPi Recordings
2019 Andrew Cyrille The News ECM
2021 Johnathan Blake Homeward Bound Blue Note

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Don Cherry (trumpeter)</span> American jazz trumpeter (1936–1995)

Donald Eugene Cherry was an American jazz trumpeter. Cherry had a long association with free jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman, which began in the late 1950s. He also performed alongside musicians such as John Coltrane, Charlie Haden, Sun Ra, Ed Blackwell, the New York Contemporary Five, and Albert Ayler.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dave Holland</span> British jazz musician

David “Dave” Holland is an English jazz double bassist, composer and bandleader who has been performing and recording for five decades. He has lived in the United States for over 40 years.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lee Konitz</span> American jazz musician (1927–2020)

Leon Konitz was an American composer and alto saxophonist.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tomasz Stańko</span> Polish trumpeter and composer

Tomasz Ludwik Stańko was a Polish trumpeter and composer. Stańko was associated with free jazz and the avant-garde.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paul Bley</span> Canadian jazz pianist

Paul Bley, CM was a jazz pianist known for his contributions to the free jazz movement of the 1960s as well as his innovations and influence on trio playing and his early live performance on the Moog and ARP synthesizers. His music has been described by Ben Ratliff of the New York Times as "deeply original and aesthetically aggressive". Bley's prolific output includes influential recordings from the 1950s through to his solo piano recordings of the 2000s.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paul Motian</span> American jazz drummer, percussionist, and composer

Stephen Paul Motian was an American jazz drummer, percussionist, and composer. Motian played an important role in freeing jazz drummers from strict time-keeping duties.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dewey Redman</span> American saxophonist and composer

Walter Dewey Redman was an American saxophonist who performed free jazz as a bandleader and with Ornette Coleman and Keith Jarrett.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Old and New Dreams</span>

Old and New Dreams was an American jazz group that was active from 1976 to 1987. The group was composed of tenor saxophone player Dewey Redman, bassist Charlie Haden, trumpeter Don Cherry and drummer Ed Blackwell. All of the members were former sidemen of free jazz progenitor and alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman, and the group played a mix of Coleman's compositions and originals by the band members.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Steve Kuhn</span> American jazz musician

Steve Kuhn is an American jazz pianist, composer, arranger, bandleader, and educator.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Craig Taborn</span> American keyboardist and composer (born 1970)

Craig Marvin Taborn is an American pianist, organist, keyboardist and composer. He works solo and in bands, mostly playing various forms of jazz. He started playing piano and Moog synthesizer as an adolescent and was influenced at an early stage by a wide range of music, including by the freedom expressed in recordings of free jazz and contemporary classical music.

Polish jazz has a history that spans periods of both acceptance and political repression.

This is a timeline documenting events of jazz in the year 1961.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Adam Cruz</span> American jazz drummer from New York City

Adam Cruz is an American jazz drummer from New York City.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1956 in jazz</span> Overview of the events of 1956 in jazz

This is a timeline documenting events of Jazz in the year 1956.

<i>The Sirens</i> (album) 2013 studio album by Chris Potter

The Sirens is a 2013 studio album by jazz saxophonist Chris Potter, his first to be released on the ECM label. It features Potter with longtime collaborators, pianist Craig Taborn and bassist Larry Grenadier, along with keyboardist David Virelles and drummer Eric Harland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2016 in jazz</span> Overview of the events of 2016 in jazz

This is a timeline documenting jazz events in the year 2016.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2010s in jazz</span>

In the 2010s in jazz, well-established jazz musicians, such as Wayne Shorter, John Scofield, Jan Garbarek, Pat Metheny, Jon Balke, Brad Mehldau, Olga Konkova, Ulf Wakenius, Christian McBride, Per Mathisen, and Renaud Garcia Fons, continued to perform and record. In the 21st century, a number of young musicians emerged, including Norwegian pianists Tord Gustavsen and Helge Lien, guitarist David Aleksander Sjølie, vibraphonist Andreas Mjøs, trumpeters Mathias Eick and Hayden Powell, saxophonists Marius Neset, Frøy Aagre, and Mette Henriette, and bassist Ellen Andrea Wang.

The Jazz at the Lake: Lake George Jazz Weekend was started in 1984 in upstate New York by artistic director and host Paul Pines, "poet of jazz" and founder of The Tin Palace jazz nightclub, and program director John Strong. Presented by the Lake George Arts Project, this free festival weekend of contemporary jazz, featuring nationally acclaimed performers in Lake George Village’s Shepard Park, celebrated its 30th year in September 2013. "One of the best-kept secrets on the Eastern jazz festival circuit, the Lake George Jazz Festival is a gem worth discovering;" Downbeat Magazine gave "Credit [to] Brooklyn-born jazz impresario Paul Pines—curator for all 33 of those festivals—with maintaining a consistently high level of artistry throughout those years."

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thomas Morgan (bassist)</span> American jazz bassist

Thomas Morgan is an American jazz bassist.

<i>The Dreamer Is the Dream</i> 2017 studio album by Chris Potter

The Dreamer Is the Dream is a 2017 studio album by American jazz saxophonist Chris Potter, his third to be released by ECM. It features pianist David Virelles, bassist Joe Martin and drummer Marcus Gilmore.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Jurek, Thom "Artist Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Ratliff, Ben (6 October 2011) "New Pilots at the Keyboard". The New York Times.
  3. "David Virelles Wins the Louis Applebaum Composers Award". All About Jazz. November 18, 2008. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  4. Josselyn, Jim (1 November 2001) "Jane Bunnett: Alma de Santiago". AllAboutJazz.
  5. 1 2 Blumenfeld, Larry (30 January 2013) "A Man of Two Islands". The Wall Street Journal.
  6. "ECM" Archived 2015-02-21 at the Wayback Machine . ECM Records. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  7. 1 2 Fordham, John (16 October 2014) "David Virelles: Mboko CD review – Jazz-Infused World Music That Goes Beyond Categories". The Guardian.
  8. Murph, John (January 2019). "David Virelles: Igbó Alákorin (The Singer's Grove) Vol. I & II". DownBeat. p. 65.