Friday, April 29, 2011

NYT: A Family’s Legacy, Afro-Cuban Jaz

Journalist Larry Rohter in the New York Times Music section has a wonderful article about the O'Farrill family.

IF there is such a thing as a first family of Afro-Cuban jazz, the O’Farrill clan has a right to claim that distinction. Its members helped invent the hybrid genre back in the 1940s, when Chico O’Farrill came to New York from Havana, and in recent years they have worked to reinvigorate the music despite barriers in both Cuba and the United States.

Thank you for this terrific, simpático article!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

¡Si Cuba! Festival

A great mention from Hispanic Market Info, about Si Cuba Festival:

Running from March 31 through June 16 New York will be presenting the creativity and artistic minds of Cuba through, ¡Si Cuba! Festival! In celebration of Cuba’s creative arts, the festival will be showcasing the diversity of Cuban culture from the traditional to the modern. This unique festival includes screenings from “award-winning films; lively concerts of son, rumba, hip-hop, and more by musical legends and rising stars; intimate discussions with Cuban writers, musicians, and thinkers; dance performances, from the classical to contemporary; compelling visual art exhibitions; and more…”

Some artists and groups to look forward to include:

The return of two groups vital to Cuban traditions.

- April 16th(Zankel Hall): The Septeto Nacional Ignacio Piñero

- May 5th-7th (Symphony Space) and May 8th(Performing Arts Center at SUNY Purchase): Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, at May 5 to 7 and at the Performing Arts Center at SUNY Purchase on May 8. There you will see adored performers of Cuban rumba and guaguancó: unique combination of Afro-Cuban music for percussion, voices and dancers.

- June 4th (Brooklyn Academy of Music) A rare Cuban tradition is represented by the Creole Choir of Cuba, which is compsed of descendants of Haitians who came to Cuba to escape slavery and their acculturation to the Cuban culture.

The festival will also be showcasing other Cuban musicians, such as Xiomara Laugart, a singer from Havana who is now a member of Yerba Buena, at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center on April 30, and the rapper Telmary Díaz at BAMCafé on April 23. The pianist Arturo O’Farrill, who leads the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, brings his Family Band to BAMCafé on April 30, and on May 14 at Symphony Space the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra will be the centerpiece of Wall to Wall Sonidos, a marathon of Latin music featuring the premiere of Mr. O’Farrill’s composition “A Still Small Voice.”

Please refer to website for more details:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Join us Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at the Metropolitan Pavilion (125 West 18th Street, between 6th & 7th Avenues)

The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance will host a fundraiser benefiting the Chico O’Farrill School of Jazz (COSJ) on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at the Metropolitan Pavilion (125 West 18th Street, between 6th & 7th Avenues) in New York City from 6PM-9PM. The evening will include performances by Arturo O’Farrill and the Chico O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra, Andrea Brachfeld and Phoenix Rising, and Aruán Ortiz and Camarada Urbana.

The Chico O’Farrill School of Jazz is an ongoing Cuban-American music educational exchange, with the pilot program scheduled for December 2011. The program is co-sponsored by the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, the Cuban Institute of Music, the Amadeo Roldan Conservatory of Music, and the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University. The Institute’s namesake, legendary composer and arranger Chico O’Farrill, is celebrated as one of the master architects of modern big band Afro Cuban jazz.

The inaugural program includes a weeklong intensive in Havana where a faculty of Cuban and American artist teachers will work closely with Cuban music students. The intensive will culminate in a concert at the Havana Plaza Jazz Festival. In subsequent years the program will last several weeks, ultimately expanding to a ten-week semester where American students participate in the program in Cuba and Cuban students participate in the program in the United States.

ALJA Artistic Director Arturo O’Farrill stated, “The opportunity to have real ongoing educational dialogue between the United States and Cuba is unparalleled. This fundraiser is the foundation of a commitment on the part of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance to begin to build the permanent bridge constructed out of mutual respect using the language of music to irrevocably change the conversation between Cuban and American musicians.”

O’Farrill, an experienced educator, traveled to Cuba with the Chico O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra this past December to headline the Havana Plaza Jazz Festival. O’Farrill’s interaction with young Cuban musicians during the trip inspired the idea of creating a long-term, sustained educational exchange. O’Farrill and flutist Andrea Brachfeld co-conceived the project and are serving as program directors.

Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance

invite you to a fundraiser benefiting

The Chico O'Farrill School of Jazz

May 18, 2011/6PM-9PM

An Evening of Music & Dancing

With Performances By:

Arturo O'Farrill & The Chico O'Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra

Andrea Brachfeld & Phoenix Rising

Aruán Ortiz & Camarada Urbana

Donation $75.00

The Metropolitan Pavilion

125 West 18th St (b/w 6th & 7th Aves.), NY, NY10011

RSVP by May 15th online

Advance Payment: online, check, or at the door

For more information on the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, visit our website here.

Arturo explains the NARAS GRAMMY decision

Click here to watch Arturo explain his objection to the NARAS decision to change the GRAMMY categories.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

NARAS Eliminating the Latin Jazz Category from GRAMMY Awards

The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance is shocked and disappointed by the news that the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences has chosen to eliminate the Latin Jazz category from the GRAMMY awards. Latinos are the second-largest demographic group in the United States, at over 50 million people in the 2010 Census, and our contributions to jazz are an essential part of our country's past, present, and future musical heritage.

The elimination of Latin Jazz from the GRAMMYs is an affront to the achievements of some of our nation's most heralded musicians: Tito Puente, Machito, Mario Bauza, Chico O'Farrill, Paquito D'Rivera, Eddie Palmieri, and many more. Moreover, it does a disservice to the thousands of talented and committed artists who are now dedicating their lives to playing this beautiful and powerful music, an art form with its own unique history and tradition. America's Latin Jazz performers, composers, arrangers, and producers sacrifice so much to be able to create brilliant, original music in the Latin Jazz form; they deserve the same recognition and support enjoyed by their peers working in different styles.

Latinos have made important progress toward equality in recent years, with growing representation in our nation's political, economic, and cultural institutions. We are deeply disappointed to find today that this progress will not be reflected in our country's most important musical award, where the message now seems to be, "Latin Jazz musicians need not apply."

Ostensibly, the reason for the GRAMMY award is to recognize excellence in art. The Academy's decision is an abandonment of artistic goals and is injurious to the livelihoods of Latin Jazz musicians who must compete in a marketplace that perceives the GRAMMY as a indicator of artistic credibility--and hires accordingly.

We urge NARAS to rethink its decision and we ask all NARAS members, musicians, and fans throughout the world to demand better.

Please take a moment to express your opposition through signing this petition.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

¡Si Cuba! Arts Festival in New York City – Schedule of Music Events: March 31-June 16

NYC writer Meryl Pearlstein writes in AllNY about ¡Si Cuba! Arts Festival in New York City – Schedule of Music Events: March 31-June 16.

Following in the footsteps of his legendary father and jazz musician Chico O'Farrill, Grammy-winning pianist and composer Arturo O'Farrill, head of the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, teams up with his sons Zack and Adam to bring dynamic Afro-Cuban tunes to concertgoers. The concert will take place during the Wall to Wall Sonidos (, a marathon of Latin music.

Saturday, April 30 at 9pm

Bar opens at 6pm


30 Lafayette Avenue (between St. Felix Street and Ashland Place), Brooklyn

Tickets: Free