FOLSOM — The Grammy award-winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, led by pianist, composer and director Arturo O’Farrill, brings together the drama of big band jazz, the culture of Latin music and the virtuosity of 18 of the world’s most accomplished solo musicians.
Don’t miss Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra’s performance on Sunday, Aug. 11, at the Harris Center for the Arts.
O’Farrill is a world-renowned, Grammy award-winning pianist, composer, and educator. In 2002, he created the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra in order to bring the vital musical traditions of Afro Latin jazz to a wider general audience, and in order to greatly expand the contemporary Latin jazz big band repertoire through commissions to jazz and Latin jazz artists across a wide stylistic and geographical range.
O’Farrill was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City. Son of the late, great composer Chico O’Farrill, Arturo was educated at Manhattan School of Music, Brooklyn College Conservatory 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. After leading his late father’s orchestra for many years, Arturo formed his own band, The Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra in order to explore his and other compositions in the panoply of Afro-Latin music.
Eleven years of critically acclaimed performances have firmly established the orchestra as the standard-bearer for creative interpretation of Latin jazz greats such as Tito Puente, Machito, and Chico O’Farrill, as well as the driving force behind new commissions from Latin music’s most talented composers and arrangers. Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra continues presenting programs that range from the very best in dance music to repertoire that pushes the genre forward. It commissions and performs innovative compositions and big band arrangements by Vijay Iyer, Miguel Zenón, Dafnis Prieto, Guillermo Klein, Pablo Mayor, Arturo O’Farrill, Michele Rosewoman, Emilio Solla, Papo Vazquez and many others.
The orchestra’s debut album, “Una Noche Inolvidable” was a 2006 Grammy nominee and its second, “Song for Chico” (ZOHO), won the Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album of the Year in 2008. Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra’s third album, “40 Acres and a Burro” (ZOHO), was a 2012 Grammy nominee for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.
The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra has thrilled audiences at Midsummer Night Swing at Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Boston Symphony Hall, Celebrate Brooklyn Festival, the Newport Jazz Festival, the Litchfield Jazz Festival (Kent, CT), The Joyce Theater (with Ballet Hispanico), Rialto Center for the Performing Arts (Atlanta, GA), Mahalia Jackson Theater with Ballet Hispanico (New Orleans) Megaron Concert Hall (Athens, Greece), and the Taichung Jazz Festival (Taichung, Taiwan), among countless other venues. The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra’s members are artists-in-residence at the Harlem School of the Arts.
Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra will perform at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 11. Tickets are $19 to $29 with premium tickets available for $39. Students with IDs get in for $12. Tickets are available online at harriscenter.net or from Harris Center ticket office at (916) 608-6888 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and two hours before show time. Parking is included in the price of the ticket. Harris Center is located on the west side of Folsom Lake College campus in Folsom, facing East Bidwell Street.