Arturo O’Farrill and the Grammy-winning Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra return to Symphony Space for the Make Music NY Festival /Symphony Space Block Party on June 21st, 2009
Showtime: 1PM to 3 PM.
“The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra sounds great with precision brass and saxophone work… a warm, cohesive sound.”
--The New York Times
“This is the finest band I have ever performed with in my life. They make me feel as if I have returned to Cuba.”
ARTURO O’FARRILL (Music Director, Piano), winner of the Latin Jazz USA Outstanding Achievement Award for 2003, was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City. In 2002, Mr. O’Farrill and Wynton Marsalis created the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra for Jazz at Lincoln Center due in part to a large and very demanding body of substantial music in the genre of Latin and Afro Cuban Jazz that deserves to be much more widely appreciated and experienced by the general jazz audience. His debut album with the Orchestra “Una Noche Inolvidable” earned a GRAMMY award nomination in 2006. Educated at the Manhattan School of Music, Brooklyn College Conservatory, and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, Mr. O’Farrill played piano with the Carla Bley Big Band from 1979 through 1983. He then went on to develop as a solo performer with a wide spectrum of artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Steve Turre, Freddy Cole, The Fort Apache Band, Lester Bowie, Wynton Marsalis, and Harry Belafonte.
In 1995 Mr. O’Farrill agreed to direct the band that preserved much of his father’s music, Chico O’Farrill’s Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, which has been in residence at Birdland, New York City’s famed nightclub, for the past nine years, as well as performing throughout the world as a solo artist and with his smaller groups. Besides recording five albums as a leader for Milestone Records, 32 Jazz, Zoho and M & I (Bloodlines, A Night in Tunisia, Cumana Bop, Live in Brooklyn and The Jim Seeley/Arturo O’Farrill Quintet), Mr. O’Farrill has appeared on numerous records including the Grammy-nominated Heart of a Legend, Carambola, and the soundtrack to the critically acclaimed movie Calle 54. Mr. O’Farrill was a special guest soloist at three landmark Jazz at Lincoln Center concerts— Afro-Cuban Jazz: Chico O’Farrill’s Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, November 1995; Con Alma: The Latin Tinge in Big Band Jazz, September 1998; and the 2001 Jazz at Lincoln Center Gala: The Spirit of Tito Puente, November 2001. In the Spring and Fall of 2002, he was also the featured artist in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Jazz in the Schools Tour, when he led a Latin jazz quintet for more than 50 educational performances that reached over 10,000 students in NYC metropolitan area schools. As an educator, he has taught master classes, seminars and workshops throughout the world for students and teachers of all levels. Recently, Mr. O’Farrill received the Distinguished Alumnus Medal from Brooklyn College and served as the Alan and Wendy Pesky Artist in Residence at Lafayette College. In the summer of 2007, Mr. O’Farrill served as Visiting Artist at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. He has recently been appointed Assistant Professor of Jazz at The University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
Throughout the past few years, Mr. O’Farrill has toured throughout the U.S. Europe and Asia. In the Spring of 2006, he led the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra on a tour of Mexico. In 2007, the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra left Jazz at Lincoln Center to pursue its own educational and performance opportunities. To that end, the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance was created as a not for profit organization dedicated to the preservation, furthering, and education of Afro Latin jazz. A recognized composer Mr. O’Farrill has received commissions from Meet the Composer, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Philadelphia Music Project, and The Big Apple Circus. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, classical pianist Alison Deane and their sons, Zachary and Adam.
The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, led by pianist and director Arturo O'Farrill is composed of 18 soloists who play classics of the Afro–Latin tradition. It exemplifies the best that Latin jazz culture offers: rich tradition through music and timeless appeal around the world. Latin jazz is a general term given to music that combines rhythms from African and Latin American countries with jazz harmonies from the United States. Afro–Cuban Latin jazz includes salsa, merengue, songo, son, mambo, bolero, charanga, and cha cha cha. Originated in the 1940's when Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Kenton began to combine the rhythm section and structure of Afro–Cuban music, Latin jazz employs straight rhythm, not swung rhythm. The congo, timbale, guiro and claves are used in this unique music.
The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra became a resident orchestra at Jazz at Lincoln Center in 2002 and toured internationally, bringing the rhythms and heat of Latin jazz to places as far away as China. In June 2007, the Orchestra left Jazz at Lincoln Center to pursue its own educational and performance opportunities and is delighted with its new home at Symphony Space. Performing the very best of traditional compositions in the canon of the Afro–Latin genre, the large ensemble commissions new work and leads education events. In 2006, the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra received a Grammy nomination for their debut album Una Noche Inolvidable on Palmetto Records. Ultimately, the Orchestra seeks to provide an opportunity for a new generation of composers, arrangers, and instrumentalists to further explore and define the music. On Song for Chico, their latest CD & Grammy Winner, the ALJO brilliantly re–interprets Latin big band classics of the 1920s to the '60s such as Caravan" and Cuban Blues" and premieres cutting edge new repertoire such as Arturo O'Farrill's Such Love" and Dafnis Prieto's Song for Chico."
For more information contact Two for the Show Media.