Fresh from an historic journey to Cuba for the Havana Plaza Jazz Festival, Arturo O'Farrill returns to the Symphony Space stage on February 26th at 8PM with his GRAMMY Award-winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra (ALJO) for a powerful evening highlighting the profound connection between the music of Cuba and New Orleans, and to celebrate the release of their latest album, 40 Acres and a Burro.
It was more than 70 years ago that Jelly Roll Morton coined the phrase Spanish tinge" to explain the Latin American rhythms that spiced up the music he had helped to createjazz. The program will feature arrangements of early charangas, rags, and contemporary works, plus the world premiere of O'Farrill's new composition, More Than a Spanish Tinge.
O'Farrill is coming off of a monumental trip to Cuba this past December, when he brought the orchestra of his late father, legendary Cuban composer and arranger Chico O'Farrill, to the island for a weeklong residency exploring the musical influences Cuban musicians contributed to the birth and development of jazz.
Performing in Havana and the surrounding areas, Arturo fulfilled a dream of bringing Chico's music back to the land the elder O'Farrill had hoped to visit once again before his death, but was never able to. The tour, which was filmed for the documentary Oye Cuba! A Journey Home, brought out strong emotions in O'Farrill. It was a very important artistic, spiritual, and familial journey," he says.
Arturo O'Farrill has had a lifelong relationship with Afro Cuban music. A pianist, composer, educator, and winner of the Latin Jazz USA Outstanding Achievement Award in 2003, he was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City. In 2002, O'Farrill created the ALJO for Jazz at Lincoln Center. His debut album with the orchestra, Una Noche Inolvidable, earned a GRAMMY Award nomination. The ALJO won a GRAMMY Award for Best Latin Jazz Album in 2009 for its second release, Song for Chico.
For this special concert, which will explore the common roots of jazz as seen in the early music of New Orleans and Havana, O'Farrill and the orchestra will be joined by special guest Donald Harrison on saxophone. O'Farrill says of the evening, Big Chief Donald Harrison will lead the ALJO on a wild ride, careening through the streets of Havana and New Orleans in such a manner as to blur the lines between the two. Come hang with us, swing hard, and enjoy the view from the corner of Bourbon Street and The Malecon."
A critically acclaimed saxophonist and composer from New Orleans, Donald Harrison, known as The King of Nouveau Swing," has been called one of the most important musicians of the new millennium" by CBS Sunday Morning. He is the originator of the Nouveau Swing style, which merges acoustic swing with modern R&B, second-line, hip-hop, New Orleans African American roots culture, and reggae rhythms. Harrison is also a master singer/dancer in traditional New Orleans culture. He is now the Big Chief of Congo Square, and he designs and makes his own Mardi Gras costumes. Harrison has worked with artists including Roy Haynes, Art Blakey, Terence Blanchard, Lena Horne, Eddie Palmieri, the Notorious BIG, Digable Planets, Billy Cobham, Ron Carter, and others. He recently appeared on the New Orleans-focused HBO series Treme.
The concert will serve as the official album release party for the ALJO's highly anticipated new album, 40 Acres and a Burro, to be released February 8 on Zoho Music.
The program is part of Sonidos: Celebrating Latino Arts, a yearlong multi-disciplinary programming initiative at Symphony Space focusing on Latino arts and culture.
The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance presents
Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra
featuring special guest Donald Harrison
February 26, 2011, 8PM
95th Street and Broadway, NYC
UNDERSCORE: Cocktails and conversation at 7 PM with the artists and Symphony Space Artistic Director Laura Kaminsky.
General Admission $38
Students & Seniors $25
Symphony Space Members $32
Day of Show $43
For tickets, visit the box office, call 212.864.5400, or visit symphonyspace.org
Founded in 2007, the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance is dedicated to preserving the music and heritage of big band Latin Jazz, supporting its performance for new audiences, and educating young people in the understanding and performance of this important cultural treasure. The Alliance maintains a world-class collection of Latin jazz musical scores and recordings, provides institutional support for the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, and provides education programs for young musicians and new audiences. From 2002 to 2007, the ALJO was a resident orchestra at Jazz at Lincoln Center, where it earned a GRAMMY nomination for its 2005 album, Una Noche Inolvidable. The Orchestra is currently in the fourth season of its residency at its home on Manhattan's Upper West Side, Symphony Space. The ALJO continues to tour nationally and internationally to critical acclaim. In 2009, the ALJO won a GRAMMY Award for Best Latin Jazz Album for its release, Song for Chico.