David Virelles

Born and raised in Cuba, David Virelles grew up in a musical family, his father being a singer-songwriter and his mother a flautist in the Santiago de Cuba Symphony. He started studying classical music at age seven, as well as being exposed to the large array of musical forms on the island. Eventually, David discovered his grandfather’s Jazz collection and also became interested in that tradition.

In 2001, he left for Canada as a protégé of Canadian musician Jane Bunnett, with whom he recorded several albums (two of them Grammy nominated), toured and collaborated with on a number of projects.

While in Canada, David graduated from the music program at Humber College. He studied privately with pianist Barry Harris and has also studied composition with the influential composer Henry Threadgill, which had a really deep impact in Virelles’s personal musical outlook.

Over the years he has performed and/or recorded with: Steve Coleman and Five Elements, Henry Threadgill, Dewey Redman, Sam Rivers, Andrew Cyrille, , Hermeto Pascoal, José Luis Quintana “Changuito”, Stanley Cowell, Rudresh Mahantappa, Horacio “El Negro” Hernández, Mark Turner, Paul Motian, Ben Street, Chris Potter, David Binney, Ravi Coltrane, Adam Rogers, Jeff Ballard, Jane Bunnet and “Spirits of Havana”, Miguel Zenón, Cuban visual artist Alberto Lescay, Howard Johnson, Dan Weiss, Adam Cruz Milestone Group, Jon Hendricks, Wadada Leo Smith, among others.

His debut album Motion was released in 2007 on the label Justin Time, after winning the Grand Prix de Jazz Award at the Montréal Jazz Festival. In 2003 he became the first recipient of the Oscar Peterson prize, presented by Peterson himself.

David continues to develop his musical concepts via the group Continuum, a collaborative effort by Virelles, bassist Ben Street, legendary drummer Andrew Cyrille and percussionist Román Díaz. He is also increasingly in demand in the New York music scene as a sideman, having performed with Steve Coleman’s Reflex Trio and Five Elements, Mark Turner, David Binney, Ravi Coltrane, Henry Threadgill, Chris Potter, among others.

Related News

2012 was a great year for David. His Pi Recordings debut, Continuum was Ben Ratliff’s #1 pick on his New York Times Top 10 Albums of 2012 list. A conversation between Ben and Nate Chinen, who also listed Continuum on his New York Times Top 10 Albums of 2012, on the year in jazz can be heard HERE. If 2012 was great 2013 looks to be even better as David will be headlining a week at the Village Vanguard January 29th through February 3rd.

posted on January 7, 2013 by Seth


The New York Times Ben Ratliff has reviewed David Virelles’ Continuum. Ben describes it by saying, “(Continuum), by contrast, is not a conventional jazz record and maybe not even of its time, though not particularly of any previous time, either… Its music is inspired, on the surface, in rhythm and words… This album doesn’t just connect cultures and styles, it also connects generations, without schematically making a point that it’s doing so.”

posted on November 1, 2012 by Seth


SomethingElseReviews has published a glowing review of David Virelles’ debut recording for Pi, Continuum. “Next week, Virelles follows up his debut release Motion (2007) with a real career-defining effort, Continuum… is it truly career defining? I think so, and the investment Virelles put into this project speaks to the seriousness he’s put into this, an adamant determination to make an impression as an independently thinking artist, not just some good piano player and composer.”

NME has posted a link of the video for “One” from Continuum.

posted on October 22, 2012 by Seth

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