2

Arturo O'Farrill Sextet: Detroit Jazz Festival, September 2, 2012

Steve Bryant By

Sign in to view read count
Arturo O'Farrill Sextet
Detroit Jazz Festival
Detroit, MI
Sept. 2, 2012

This year's Detroit Jazz Festival had so much from the Latin side that one could choose from the genre buffet. If the Puerto Rican plate didn't move you, there was The West Coast flavas and even some Spanish sabor. For the fans of good ol' straight-up Cubop, though, there was pianist Arturo O'Farrill.

A scion of Afro-Cuban Jazz royalty, O'Farrill has attained a high status in jazz circles for his leadership of the Grammy-winning Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra. For his first Detroit Jazz Fest appearance, O' Farrill brought in a crack sextet to entertain an enthusiastic crowd on a sultry afternoon. The group included old Latin jazz hands Ivan Renta on sax and Vince Cherico on drums, as well as trumpeter Jim Sealy, bassist Carlos De Rosa, and veteran conguero Roland Guerrero.

O'Farrill jumped-started the set with a rendition of his composition "With Whom I'm Well Pleased," A mid-level burner with solid Afro-Cuban elements. Afro-Cuban purists could be a little taken back with a tune like this, but when one has musical godfathers like Mario Bauza and Dizzy Gillespie, he can take the music easily in a bunch of different directions. On the next tune, "Little General," O'Farrill gave the crowd more of the same, this time with more Cubop in the mix.

Things really started jumping when O'Farrill brought on the "Big Chief" himself, Donald Harrison, to join the party. Now the novice could wonder why O'Farrill would bring on a cat from New Orleans. The fact of the matter is that the musical roots between NOLA and Havana run wide and deep (but that's a whole 'nother story). Plus Harrison has racked up some solid Latin credentials with Eddie Palmieri. O'Farrill did take a trip to Old Havana with a spirited take on the classic "Siboney." Guerrero and Cherico laid down a geared-up danzon rhythm on which O'Farrill and Harrison put their personal flourishes. People forget that O'Farrill is a very accomplished pianist who is as equally comfortable with Monk as he is with Lecuona . O'Farrill then got personal with "Stop and Frisk," his take on NYC police tactics. O'Farrill played the tune as an off-balance mambo, with the highlight of Harrison channeling Sonny Stitt on a full-bore solo. O'Farrill ended the set with a hopped-up version of another classic "Obsession."

The crowd that afternoon in Detroit was treated to a superb set of Afro-Cuban jazz, which allowed them to hear what the New Breed of Afro-Latin players are doing.

Shop

More Articles

Read Panama Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Panama Jazz Festival 2017
by Mark Holston
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Foundation of Funk at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom Live Reviews Foundation of Funk at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
by Geoff Anderson
Published: February 20, 2017
Read The Cookers at Nighttown Live Reviews The Cookers at Nighttown
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: February 16, 2017
Read Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens Live Reviews Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "McCoy Tyner Tribute at SFJAZZ" Live Reviews McCoy Tyner Tribute at SFJAZZ
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: July 4, 2016
Read "SFJAZZ Collective At SFJAZZ" Live Reviews SFJAZZ Collective At SFJAZZ
by David Becker
Published: October 24, 2016
Read "Trevor Anderies Quintet at Fresh Santa Fe" Live Reviews Trevor Anderies Quintet at Fresh Santa Fe
by Dave Wayne
Published: October 31, 2016
Read "Zbigniew Seifert Jazz Violin Competition 2016" Live Reviews Zbigniew Seifert Jazz Violin Competition 2016
by Martin Longley
Published: September 16, 2016
Read "Peter Gabriel and Sting at the Pepsi Center" Live Reviews Peter Gabriel and Sting at the Pepsi Center
by Geoff Anderson
Published: August 6, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!