Born in 1974, Prieto grew up in Santa Clara, Cuba--a small town about 150 miles from Havana. Prieto studied both guitar and percussion as a pre-teen, and after leaving Santa Clara, he moved to Havana to attend the National School of Music (where he concentrated on Afro-Cuban and classical music but became increasingly interested in jazz). One of the musicians Prieto played with when he was still living in Cuba was Canadian saxophonist Jane Bunnett, who invited him to perform in North America as part of her group.
Prieto was 25 when, in 1999, he decided to make New York City his permanent home. The early 2000s found Prieto being employed as a sideman by several well known musicians, including Eddie Palmieri, pianist Michel Camilo, guitarist Carlos Barbosa-Lima, vibist Dave Samuels (of Spyro Gyra fame) and pianist Arturo O'Farrill (son of Chico O'Farrill). Many of the musicians he played with after settling in the Big Apple favored very straightahead jazz, although Prieto also appeared in some avant-garde settings with saxophone explorer Henry Threadgill. It was also during the early 2000s that Prieto formed his own quintet, whose members included trumpeter Brian Lynch (one of the many people who passed through Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers), saxophonist Peter Apfelman, acoustic bassist Hans Glawischnig and Venezuelan pianist Luis Perdomo. About the Monks, Prieto's first album a leader, was given a February 2005 release date by the independent Zoho Music; in addition to producing and arranging the album, Prieto wrote all of the material. ~ Alex Henderson, All Music Guide.