GRAMMY Award winners Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra present their Holiday Concert this December at BRIC, also featuring the Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats Youth Big Band. A retrospective on Latin Jazz Big Band music with an emphasis on classic Mambo, this event will showcase guest vocalists Sammy Gonzalez Jr. and Ivan Llanes.
In 2002, O'Farrill established the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra in order to bring the vital musical traditions of Afro Latin jazz to a wider general audience, and to greatly expand the contemporary Latin jazz big band repertoire through commissions to artists across a wide stylistic and geographic range.
Co-presented with the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance. A benefit for the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance Music Education Programs.
Run Time: 2 hours & 15 minutes, including Intermission
About Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra
GRAMMY Award winning pianist, composer and educator Arturo O'Farrill—leader of the "first family of Afro-Cuban Jazz" (The New York Times)—was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City. Son of the late, great composer Chico O'Farrill, Arturo was educated at the Manhattan School of Music and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. He played piano in Carla Bley's Big Band from 1979 through 1983 and earned a reputation as a soloist in groups led by Dizzy Gillespie, Steve Turre, Freddy Cole, Lester Bowie, Wynton Marsalis, and Harry Belafonte. In 2002, he established the GRAMMY winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra in order to bring the vital musical traditions of Afro Latin jazz to a wider general audience, and to greatly expand the contemporary Latin jazz big band repertoire through commissions to artists across a wide stylistic and geographic range.
Following his 2009 GRAMMY Award for "Best Latin Jazz Album" for the Orchestra’s debut recording, Song for Chico (ZOHO), O'Farrill has received numerous GRAMMY wins for The Offense of the Drum ("Best Latin Jazz Album"), Cuba: The Conversation Continues ("The Afro Latin Jazz Suite," "Best Instrumental Composition"), and his album with Chucho Valdés, Familia: Tribute to Bebo & Chico, won a GRAMMY Award in the "Best Instrumental Composition" category for his composition, “Three Revolutions.” Cuba: The Conversation Continues won a 2016 Latin GRAMMY for "Best Latin Jazz Album." In September 2018, O’Farrill released his latest album, Fandango at the Wall: A Soundtrack for the United States, Mexico, and Beyond, featuring the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, Antonio Sanchez, Regina Carter, Akua Dixon, Mandy Gonzalez, Patricio Hidalgo, Rahim AlHaj, and Ramón Gutiérrez Hernández.
Arturo O'Farrill is on the faculty of The Manhattan School of Music and The New School. In 2019, O’Farrill was appointed a Professor at The Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA, in the Global Jazz Studies department. O’Farrill is a Steinway Artist.
Afro Latin Jazz Alliance
The non-profit Afro Latin Jazz Alliance (ALJA) was established by Arturo O'Farrill in 2007 to promote Afro Latin Jazz through a comprehensive array of performance and education programs. ALJA produces the Orchestra's annual performance season at Symphony Space and other venues in NYC, and maintains a weekly engagement for the Orchestra at the famed jazz club Birdland. The Alliance also maintains a world-class collection of Latin jazz musical scores and recordings. ALJA's education programs include the Afro Latin Jazz Academy of Music (ALJAM); an in-school residency program serving public schools citywide with instrumental and ensemble instruction, and the pre-professional youth orchestra, the Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats, which prepares the next generation of musicians. The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance maintains an administrative office inside the historic Minisink Townhouse in Central Harlem. For more information on the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, please visit afrolatinjazz.org.
Sammy Gonzalez Jr.
Sammy Gonzalez Jr. has been the lead singer for Tito Rodriguez Jr., Johnny Ray "Salsa con clase," and The Big Three Palladium Orchestra, as well as Louie Ramirez, for much of his career. He has performed for capacity crowds at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, The Concord Jazz Festival in San Francisco, and the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. Additional concerts include at Ravinia Festival, Chicago; Tanglewood Festival, Massachusetts; Detroit Concert of Colors; University of Tennessee, Knoxville; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; University of Texas, San Antonio; California State University, Los Angeles; Jacksonville Florida Jazz Festival; Milan and Rome, Italy; Pori Jazz Festival, Finland; The Vic-Fezensac Festival, France; La Plaza Mayor, Madrid; Burghausen Jazz Fest, Germany; The Ottawa Canada Jazz Fest; Jazz a Vienna; and Istanbul Jazz Festival, just to name a few. Sammy has traveled all around the world from Morocco to Moscow and from Istanbul to the Vatican in Rome. For the first time, he comes out with his own band as a solo artist, having put together a 12-piece band with many of the top musicians that he has performed with all over the world. His music is that of the hottest (salsa) songs of his 15 musical recordings with the various artists he has recorded with. This is a dancer's band, explosive to say the least! So if you are looking for the hottest salsa music played all over the world, Sammy Gonzalez Jr. is your choice. Sammy is a frequent collaborator of Afro Latin Jazz Orchestraand has been Arturo's top choice any time the band features a dance/mambo repertoire.
Drummer, percussionist, singer, instructor, and composer, Ivan Llanes is a recent collaborator of Arturo and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, although he has played with the ALJO as a sub in the percussion section and was a guest artist and vocalist for the ALJO's recent Valentine Mambo Party at NYU Abu Dhabi this past February 2019. Ivan Llanes was born on December 30, 1985, in Camaguey, Cuba. At an early age, he began to show interest in music. He began his musical studies at age 10, at the Vocational School of Art in his province of Luis Casas Romero. At age 13 he joined the orchestra Estrellitas de la Charanga, participating in the "National Festival of Charanga Orchestra" in Palma Soriano on two separate occasions. Llanes then continued his studies at the Jose White Conservatory at the age of 15, were he received numerous awards as part of the competitive educational programs. In 2010, Ivan joined the Grammy-Nominated Orlando "Maraca" Valle in his orchestra Otra Vision. Under the musical direction of Maraca, a world-flute virtuoso, Ivan began combining the use of the drum-set and Timbal. He began rapidly developing the skills necessary to master Maraca's complicated compositions and style of play.
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