Hometown: La Place, LA
Born in the island of Trinidad, West Indies the son of Malcolm and Carmen Villafana. I was exposed to music from birth mainly because of my dad the pianist who played a variety of styles, calypso, jazz, bossa novas, Latin American, reggae and American standards and my mom for her passion for music.
I grew up listening to lots of Beatles and Elton John music among many others. However, American music became a vital part of my developing style. As a teen I spent many hours playing James Brown funk music and R&B. The turning point in my focus came after hearing George Benson’s On Broadway rendition. Chord and scales studies began at that point.
Later, I found myself being surrounded with guys like Toby Tobias, Raf Robertson, and Clive Zanda were among the few that I learned invaluable musical knowledge from. At that point in my life, blending my native calypso with jazz was the perfect thing to do. After leaving Trinidad in 1981, my plan was to attend Berkley, a dream that never materialized. Instead I spent eight months in St. Croix, playing solo guitar at the Buccaneer hotel and holding down upright bass gigs with Jimmy Hamilton of Duke Ellington fame, playing straight jazz standards. It was around this time that I met Ed Cherry, and Dizzy Gillespie the day after their concert. It was Ed, this extremely talented guitarist who introduced me to Joe Pass books and methods.
My hopes of attending Berkley slowly slipped away after moving to Louisiana.
I continued to study and play mostly R&B gigs when time permitted. Years later I met a saxophonist, Quintin Gerard W who asked me to do a few recordings on his second smooth jazz album. Thereafter we performed at the first Montgomery Jazz Festival, Al., Harrahs Casino, a jazz trio at the House of Blues, the New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center and the the Tavern On the Lake in Orlando. It wasn’t long after when he persuaded me to get serious about recording my compositions, the album I now have to offer ‘Epiphany'.
Epiphany is a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature, an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure. A strong title for an album and Villafana's promise. Epiphany is your favorite album for the romantic hours. The music for an undisturbed dinner with delicious cuisine and a magnificent view.”
Hans-Bernd Hulsmann - Smooth & Soul
“Epiphany is a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature, an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure. A strong title for an album and Villafana's promise.
Epiphany is your favorite album for the romantic hours. The music for an undisturbed dinner with delicious cuisine and a magnificent view.”
Jackie Anderson - Valley Planet
“WHO WE ARE: IAN VILLAFANA
A bit of old, a bit of new on local muscian’s debut
To truly get to the roots of what drives Villafana and his music, one must travel to the Caribbean nation of Trinidad, where Villafana spent his youth. There he was exposed to the sounds one might typically associate with the region — calypso, bossa nova, Latin and reggae, to name a few.
David Vitrano - L'Observateur
“Check out my interview with IntheNOwla.com”
Jeff Gonzales - InthekNOwla.com Artist Spotlight