With his 2009 Grammy award in hand, pianist Arturo O'Farrill can finally step out from the very long shadow cast by his father, Afro-Cuban band leader Chico O'Farrill. On Risa Negra, it can be seen how quickly Arturo's children, trumpeter Adam O'Farrill (age 14) and drummer Zachary O'Farrill (age 17)featured on one trackbegin to peer out from the safety of dad's protective gaze.
This is a family album, it's just that O'Farrill's extended family heard here come from the Caribbean, Midwest, Latin America, Russia, and India. As was heard with his father's generation, Latin jazz has the ability to swallow multinational amounts of music and make it fit into its clave. This is best demonstrated by "Table Rasa," a two-movement suite that begins el salon Cuba, with a simple parlor piano piece that evolves into a tasty Latin groove, as trumpeter Jim Seeley trades solos with flutist Cecilia Tenconi. The suite continues with "Tintal Tintal Deo" morphing into an Indian tabla feature for guest Badal Roy. The former Miles Davis alum delivers a konakol (Indian vocal percussion) solo before the band returns with a melting pot of Afro-Cuban jazz fusion.
The recording transcends classifiable music genres. Like great jazz visionaries, O'Farrill's appetite is large. The horns are concise, and chocked full of swing, evidenced by Seeley and saxophonist David Bixler tearing through "One Adam 12 Mambo" and "Ceviche." The band hits upon a bit of funk, with O'Farrill on electric piano and Boris Kozlov sporting electric bass, on "Goat Check," a hip piece of roadhouse music. Kozlov sticks with electric and trades solos with acoustic bassist Ricardo Rodriguez on "Blue State Blues," another certain crowd favorite that finds each player dropping musical quotes that become infectious, as the horn players drop nods to their swinging jazz ancestors.
Adam O'Farrill displays the family genetics on his "Crazy Chicken." The five-minute piece features a complex melody that slows down, allowing him to display some very nice playing with his brother Zachary accenting time on the skins.
Father Arturo wraps the disc up with a solo piece, "Alisonia," a honeyed and thoughtfully reflective song that displays his more mellow side. Not unlike something that could be mistaken for a Bill Evans composition, it is a fitting end to a spirited recording.
Track Listing: One Ada 12 Mambo; Goat Check; Blue State Blues; The Darkness Is My Closest Friend; No
Way Off; Crazy Chicken; Tabla Rasa : El Salon Cubano; Tabla Rasa: Tintal Tintal Deo, Ceviche; Alisonia.
Personnel: Arturo O'Farrill: piano, Fender Rhodes piano; Jim Seeley: trumpet; David Bixler: alto sax; Boris Koslov: acoustic and electric bass (1-5, 9, 10); Vince Cherico: drums (1-5, 7-10); Roland Guerrero: percussion; Ivan Renta: tenor sax (3, 6); Ricky Rodriguez: acoustic bass (3, 6-8); Alison Deane: piano (5, 7, 8); Badal Roy: tablas (8); Cecelia Tenconi: flute (7, 8); Heather Bixler: violin (8); Adam O'Farrill: trumpet (6); Zachary O'Farrill: drums (6).
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds. I love how jazz can involve musicians who may have never met each other can coming together and making incredible music by referring to the Great American Songbook and musicians who have been playing together for years, who have a deep connection and who explore and create original music that is at the cutting edge of musical innovation in every sense. Performing jazz music requires a virtuosity and technique that only strict discipline can teach as well as a spontaneity and playfulness that reflects the simple folk roots of the music.
I was first exposed to jazz as a student in college. Only knowing I wanted to play guitar, I enrolled in an applied music program that focused on Jazz rhythm section playing. The subsequent journey that I have been on since the time that I enrolled in that class has helped me grow not only as a musician but more so as a person.