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Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra

arturo o farrill
Sophie LE ROUX leroux.photographe@gmail.com
arturo o farrill pianiste cubain et chef d'orchestre portrait posé petit journal montparnasse, paris, jazz club, restaurant, france 14 janvier 2016 ©Sophie LE ROUX

Arturo O’Farrill is the son of legendary Latin jazz composer Chico O’Farrill. Like his father, he writes adventurous, imaginative compositions that incorporate a rich variety of Latin rhythms, informed by the complex harmonies and structures of European concert music. Since he founded the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra in 2007, he’s received six Grammy awards including best large jazz ensemble album, best Latin jazz album and best instrumental composition.

O’Farrill’s music is provocative - confronting issues of race, politics and identity. He’s outspoken, curious and dynamic. His passion, knowledge and humor also make him a great storyteller. In this interview, he discusses his memories of his parents’ parties, at which he would run into Pearl Bailey, Jon Hendricks or Count Basie. He talks about his major musical influences, including Carla Bley, Andy Gonzalez and, of course, his father. There’s also a fascinating discussion on what he’s learned from collaborating with choreographers and writing for ballet.

As part of the ongoing Virginia Arts Festival, Arturo O’Farrill will appear with the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra Friday evening at 7:30 at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts in Virginia Beach. The Afro Latin jazz orchestra is also on YouTube. There are more than one hundred videos that they have recorded since the pandemic started.

The Virginia Arts Festival supports Delmarva Public Media stations.

ALJO photo 2018.jpg
David Garten
©2017 David Garten
Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra

Peter Solomon is WESM's Music Director and host of Morning Jazz Unlimited, weekdays from 9 am to noon on WESM. He joined Delmarva Public Media in August 2021 after 22 years as a jazz host for an NPR affiliate in Richmond, Virginia.