471

Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra: Song For Chico

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra: Song For Chico Arturo O'Farrill's Song for Chico is a disc that would have done the old man proud. The "Chico" of the title is Cuban-born Arturo "Chico" O'Farrill, the senior (b.1921; d.2001), the visionary Latin jazz composer who wrote, most famously, the "Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite," recorded in 1950 by Machito and his Afro-Cuban Orchestra, with none other than Charlie Parker sitting in the alto saxophone chair. The original recording of the suite can be heard on Charlie Parker South of the Border (Verve, 1995), and on a magnificently rerecorded version on Chico O'Farrill's last recording, Carambola (Milestone, 2000) on which Arturo O'Farrill the younger served as pianist and musical director.

Chico O'Farrill's genius was for blending the sounds of bebop with the Afro-Cuban tradition and tinting it with classical shadings. This set, Arturo's tribute to his father, carries on very much in the O'Farrill tradition. The disc opens with "Caravan," written by Juan Tizol and made famous by Duke Ellington. The sound is bold and brassy, one foot in the streets of San Juan or Havana, the other in the concert hall. The arrangement—by Papo Vazquez—is full of spirited soloing, with trumpeter Michael Rodriguez showing off some Ellingtonian jungle cat growls.

"Such Love," an Arturo O'Farrill original dedicated to Sam Furnace, opens with a stream of waving reeds and a trumpet fanfare that rolls into some lush harmony, followed by an O'Farrill cascade that leads into the multiple percussion. This is music that makes it impossible to sit still, and it's also music that invites serious listening. The arrangements throughout are complex and deftly done, working that "street versus the concert hall" dynamic.

A highlight of this marvelous set is the title tune, penned by Cuban drummer/composer Dafnis Prieto. Brimming with joy, with a mix of musical languages, it stretches Latin jazz to the max.

O'Farrill includes a couple of his father's tunes, the swinging, swaying "Cuban Blues" and the beautifully pensive "The Journey," featuring Jim Seeley's soulful trumpet and O'Farill's delicately nuanced and, like Ellington, too-seldom showcased piano work. It's a gorgeous closing to a set that pushes the boundaries of Latin jazz into new territory. Just as Chico did.


Track Listing: Caravan; Such Love; Picadillo; A Song for Chico; Starry Nights; Cuban Blues; Humility; The Journey.

Personnel: Michael Mossman: trumpet; Jim Seeley: trumpet; John Walsh: trumpet; Michael Rodriguez: trumpet; Reynaldo Jorge: trombone; Gary Valente: trombone; Luis Bonilla: trombone; Douglas Purviance: trombone; Bobby Porcelli: saxophones; Erica von Kleist: saxophones; Mario Rivera: saxophones; Ivan Renta: saxophones; Pablo Calogero: saxophones; Arturo O'Farrill: piano, artistic and musical director; Ruben Rodriguez: electric and baby bass; Vince Cherico: drums, timbales; Jimmy Delgado: timbales, bongo, bell; Tony Rosa: tumbadora.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Zoho Music | Style: Latin/World


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Dream Delivery" CD/LP/Track Review Dream Delivery
by Dave Wayne
Published: July 28, 2016
Read "Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny" CD/LP/Track Review Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 5, 2016
Read "Hasta Karma" CD/LP/Track Review Hasta Karma
by Tyran Grillo
Published: April 29, 2016
Read "Michael Shrieve's Spellbinder" CD/LP/Track Review Michael Shrieve's Spellbinder
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 15, 2016
Read "Live in Athens, Greece" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Athens, Greece
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2016
Read "Migration" CD/LP/Track Review Migration
by Budd Kopman
Published: July 20, 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!