The Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble is a Grammy® Award–winning octet that is part of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance.
- The Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble, with guest vocalist Malika Zarra and cellist Akua Dixon & Quartette Indigo, play a Carnegie Hall Citywide picnic performance at Bryant Park in Midtown on Friday, July 1, 2022 at 7pm. FREE. carnegiehall.org 🇨🇺
This concert’s lineup features new pianist Andrew Andron.
- Ivan Renta on Saxophone @rentamusic
- Rafi Malkiel on Trombone @rafimalkiel
- Jim Seeley on Trumpet
- Vince Cherico on Drums @vcherico
- Keisel Jimenez on Congas @jimenezkeisel 🇨🇺
- Carly Maldonado on Percussion @carlydrummer
- Ricardo Rodriguez on Bass
- Andrew Andron on Piano
Afro Latin Jazz Alliance
The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance nonprofit organization was founded by Jazz pianist, composer and leader Arturo O’Farrill. Arturo was born in the Jazz business. He was swinging in the womb, so Jazz is completely natural to him.
In New York his Cuban father Chico O’Farrill composed or arranged for legends such as Machito, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman and others. This was back in 1940s when Bebop Modern Jazz and Cubop Latin Jazz were born in New York City.
Chico started Sunday Latin Jazz nights at Birdland over 20 years ago. Arturo carries on the tradition. His sons are talented musicians too.
Grammy After Grammy
Arturo O’Farrill makes records that seem to get nominated for Grammys almost every year, and often win.
Recently his “Virtual Birdland” was nominated for Best Latin Jazz Album. The track “Dreaming in Lions” was nominated for Best Instrumental Composition. It’s a chamber piece for Malpaso Dance Company, one of Cuba’s leading contemporary dance companies that is mentored by the Joyce Theater. Arturo often collaborates with dance companies and other artists.
He is kind of a poet too. “Dreaming in Lions” is a reference to being part of the African Diaspora which most Latins are, regardless of the identities we live in. A surprising amount of American culture originates in the African Diaspora too. Arturo is always subtly explaining that with few words, but a lot of feeling. That’s very Latin.
The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra was the original Jazz orchestra for Jazz at Lincoln Center. Lincoln Center’s concept starts mostly with New Orleans Jazz. The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance goes one step further to the origins of Jazz among the diverse peoples of the Caribbean. The next step is Mother Africa.
Most Americans understand Latin traditions through Cuba. It’s the Afro “Latin” Jazz Orchestra, not the Afro “Cuban” Jazz Orchestra, because Arturo knows that Cuban culture is a blend of many different traditions.
Arturo O’Farrill is One of the Padrinos of Latin Music in NYC
Arturo O’Farrill is one of the padrinos (godfathers) of Latin music in New York City who is mentoring the next generation of Latin musicians. He is a generous teacher and performer. He plays everything from Classical to Jazz to Latin.
During the pandemic, Arturo helped several of NYC’s Jazz and Global Music clubs survive by producing shows with them. He even gives us a scolding when we write something that isn’t quite right. (Thank you Maestro.)
We were surprised that Arturo isn’t playing this show, but he is setting up the ensemble’s future. Great artists produce so much love that it overflows into the people and community around them. We and all of New York City are grateful to have an artist at this level who is so generous.
This show is part of the Festival of New York and is sponsored in part by the Howard Gilman Foundation.