UCSB hosts Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra
Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra are bringing their special beat tonight to UCSB Campbell Hall.
The 8 p.m. concert will feature the ensemble performing with the Villalobos Brothers, known for their fusion of Mexican folk music with jazz and classical music.
The concert is part of UCSB Arts & Lectures’ Soul of America series.
Mr. O’Farrill and his orchestra teamed up with the Villalobos Brothers, to work on “Fandango at the Wall,” which involved an album, book and documentary. It was inspired by the Fandango Fronterizo festival at the Tjuana-San Diego border. You can see a trailer for the documentary at youtu.be/DYj7e8N1dos.
Mr. O’Farrill, a Grammy-winning pianist and composer, leads the critically acclaimed Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. The 18-piece ensemble blends its love for big band jazz with Latin music.
The orchestra is known for its creative interpretation of Latin jazz greats such as Tito Puente, Frank “Machito” Grillo and Chico O’Farrill, according to a news release. The orchestra also is known as a driving force for commissions for talented composers and arrangers.
From 2002 to 2007, the orchestra was based at Jazz at Lincoln Center and performed many concerts there, as well as on national and international tours.
During its residency there, the orchestra performed at the opening of the Frederick P. Rose Hall, the opening ceremonies of the 2005 U.S. Open and the inaugural week for Shanghai Concert Hall.
The ensemble also led a weeklong educational residency in Yokohoma, Japan, and recorded a Grammy-nominated CD, “Una Noche Inolvidable,” (2005, Palmetto Records).
In early 2007, Mr. O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra left Lincoln Center to develop new audiences for big band Latin jazz and create a robust educational program for young performers. Mr. O’Farrill launched the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance as a nonprofit to promote the performance and educational aspects of this special genre of music.
The orchestra has played in recent years at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Boston Symphony Hall, the Newport Jazz Festival, the Litchfield Jazz Festival (Kent, Conn.), The Joyce Theater (with Ballet Hispanico), Megaron Concert Hall (Athens, Greece) and the Taichung Jazz Festival (Taichung, Taiwan).
The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance’s programs span the five New York City boroughs, with performances in venues throughout the city and with education programs serving school children throughout New York.
During the last eight years, Afro Latin Jazz Alliance has produced more than 45 concerts as part of its annual New York Season, showcasing a variety of talent from all over the world.
In addition to the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, Mr. O’Farrill has performed with the Arturo O’Farrill Sextet and other orchestras and ensembles in the U.S., Europe, Russia, Australia and South America, according to arturoofarrill.com. He has also performed with Ballet Hispanico and the Malpaso Dance Company. In fact, he wrote three ballets for the latter.
And the Alvin Ailey Dance Company is touring with a ballet, “Open Door,” which Ron Brown choreographed to several of Mr. O’Farrill’s compositions.
In addition, Mr. Brown’s Evidence Dance Company has commissioned Mr. O’Farrill to compose “New Conversations,” which premiered in 2018 in Beckett, Mass.
The Villalobos Brothers, meanwhile, recently launched their Symphonic Project and performed sold-out concerts with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and the Walla Walla Symphony in Washington state.