Drummer who works with local publicist wins grammy for Best Latin Jazz Recording

A week after the lights went down and the red carpet was rolled up, publicist Chris DiGirolamo of Mattituck is still in disbelief over his recent Grammy win.

His client, renowned Cuban-American drummer Dafnis Prieto, took home the award for Best Latin Jazz Recording for his album “Back to the Sunset.”

Mr. DiGirolamo said he was driving on the Long Island Expressway with his wife, Nancy, and their two daughters when he got the news.

“It hit me like a ton of bricks,” he recalled during an interview Tuesday. “Seeing my name there with two people I’ve worked with for years … I was just like, how did this happen?”

Mr. DiGirolamo, who owns Two for the Show Media, has worked with Mr. Prieto since 2008. They connected immediately over a shared love of music. “I loved what he was doing, because I’m a drummer,” he said. “Each limb on his body acts like a different brain.”

They teamed up with producer Eric Oberstein, who launched a sort of grassroots effort to produce the big-band record. 

“We were up against four of the biggest other artists, who have money and label backing, and won. That shows a lot,” Mr. DiGirolamo said.

This marks the second win for one of Mr. DiGirolamo’s clients; an Afro-Latin orchestra he was working with won an award in 2008.

Dafnis Prieto took home the Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Recording for his album ‘Back to the Sunset.’

Though thrilled to have won, he said Mr. Prieto is ready to get to work on the next project. 

“He’s probably the most humble man I’ve ever met,” he said.

Meanwhile, he’s gearing up for a new project with trumpeter Alex Sipiagin of Aquebogue, to be released this spring.

Mr. DiGirolamo’s foray into public relations was a happy accident. 

“I was freelance [writing] in the early 2000s, but it was getting old,” he said. “So from journalism, I knew how to get in and ‘bite,’ but had a lot to learn.”

Thirteen years later, he’s thrilled to be able to work from his home in Mattituck and spend time with daughters Sarah, 6, and Julia, 9, while still working in the music industry. “I’ve been playing the drums since I was 6, so to be working with people that I’ve idolized and being engulfed in music every day … it’s freedom.”

Whether writing about it, teaching it or producing it, music has always been a central part of the Bellerose native’s life.

Though he didn’t attend the awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles this year, he said seeing the show on television was incredible. “I have been in the past, as support. I’m not the guy going up and making a speech. But I wish I was there, because it looked like a good show.”

He hopes to take his children to the event one day.

Throughout his career, Mr. DiGirolamo has seen radical changes take hold of the music industry. 

“When I started doing this, record labels were closing up. Back then, they did everything. Suddenly, every musician in the world could make their own record, could put it on iTunes, social media. And you have to work 10 times harder.”

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Photo caption: Chris DiGirolamo, owner of the Mattituck-based publicity firm Two for the Show Media, recently saw one of his clients win a Grammy. (Courtesy photo)