Not solely does Grammy-winning jazz pianist and bandleader Arturo O’Farrill have a prolonged historical past with the Maverick Live shows collection, at which he and his quartet will carry out on August 12, he additionally has one other vital native connection, one which predates his Maverick affiliation. In 1979 he acquired his first large break within the space as a sideman at age 19, when influential Woodstock pianist, composer, and bandleader Carla Bley caught him enjoying at an area bar and instantly snapped him up for a three-year stint along with her band that started with a present at Carnegie Corridor.
“My jazz buddies and I might come up from town each weekend to Mount Tremper and jam, and there’ve at all times been so many nice musicians to play with [in the Hudson Valley],” recollects O’Farrill. “I am at all times completely happy to get again to Maverick to play. I used to be at all times a metropolis child who liked to flee to the nation. It is my nice hope that I can dwell there sometime.”
Arturo is the son of famed Cuban-born composer, arranger, band chief, and trumpeter Chico O’Farrill, one of many central figures within the growth of Afro-Cuban jazz. Born in Mexico Metropolis, the youthful O’Farrill moved when he was 5 years outdated along with his household to New York, the place his father labored with Dizzy Gillespie, Rely Basie, Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, Tito Puente, La Lupe, Celia Cruz, and Machito (with Charlie Parker, Chico composed the latter bandleader’s “Afro-Cuban Suite”). Arturo began piano classes at age six and graduated from the La Guardia College of Music and Artwork and went on to review on the Manhattan College of Music, the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn Faculty, and the Aaron Copland College of Music at Queens Faculty. After leaving the Carla Bley Large Band, he performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Bowie, Howard Johnson, Steve Turre, Harry Belafonte (as music director), and others earlier than taking on his father’s orchestra and launching Lincoln Heart’s long-in-residence Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra.
O’Farrill’s work with the orchestra, which was based to carry conventional Cuban music and American jazz collectively, has additional broadened and bridged boundaries by including Haitian, Dominican, Mexican, and South American flavors to the combo, whereas exterior of the ensemble the chief has performed free jazz and experimented with hip hop. He and his orchestras have gained Grammys for Greatest Latin Instrumental Album (2014’s Closing Evening at Birdland) and Greatest Latin Jazz Album (2015’s The Offense of the Drum) and had been nominated for a 2016 Grammy for Cuba: The Dialog Continues, which was recorded in Havana simply two days after President Obama gave the announcement that the US would normalize relations with Cuba. (A choice that the next administration, sadly, reversed.)
“We’re in a deadly level within the journey of the historical past of this nation proper now,” observes O’Farrill, who’s an activist in addition to a musician. “The forces on the far proper have hijacked the narrative and brought it into an ‘us versus them’ realm. However individuals are extra nuanced than that. Even probably the most die-hard MAGA supporter has love of their coronary heart, carries photos of their kids. My hope with enjoying is that individuals can simply come collectively and benefit from the music and be within the spirit of the second.”