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Chico O’Farrill ‘s Afro-Cuban Jazz Big Band

- Jazz and Cabaret

Chico O’Farrill ‘s Afro-Cuban Jazz
Big Band
Arturo O’Farrill: Music Director and Piano
(Chico O’Farrill’s Bio)
(Arturo O’Farrill’s Bio)

Trumpets: Mike Massman, Jim Seeley,
Valarey Pomanerov, Matt Hilgenberg
Trombones: Sam Burtis, Jack Jeffers, Gary Valente, Jorge Reynolds
Saxophones: Max Schweiger, Junnu Cozier,
David Bixler, Peter Branin, Mike Migliore
Bass: Ruben Rodriguez
Drums: Emilio Valdes
Congas: Tony Rosa
Bongos: Joe Gonzalez

At Birdland
315 West 44th Street, NYC
Gianni Valenti, Owner
Andy Kaufman, Business Manager
Tarik Osman, Manager

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 12, 2004

With shekere, bongos, and cowbell, Arturo O’Farrill, in the style of his father Chico O’Farrill, brought this renowned orchestra onstage with a vibrant, rousing introduction. With a tempting tenor sax, ever so soft bongos and congas, and a clinking cowbell, O’Farrill set the tone for an exciting Sunday night at Birdland. A baritone sax solo followed in the second piece, punctuated with clave rhythms and wild congas. A Jazz/Cuban fusion ensued, with trumpets, saxes, and trombones leading into a momentous Mambo concert. One piece, written for Dizzy Gillespie, included several themes. The trumpets infused a traditional jazz element that soon merged into a sultry rhumba and finally a sensational salsa. As this piece concluded, O’Farrill pounced into jazz, with a hot swing sound. Ecstatic trumpets flew off the scale with repetitive refrains and blasts of brass.

Cuban Conflagration, with blended jazz and powerful, resonating percussion, announced a trumpet theme, as the steady trombones provided background for the cowbell and congas. Arturo O’Farrill, a virtuosic Latin jazz pianist, led from his piano bench with seasoned aplomb. In honor of Chico O’Farrill, a piece written by this maestro on NYC was designed around a vibrant and vivacious mambo rhythm. I loved the way the band members broke into song to add culture and richness to this concert.

You can catch Chico O’Farrill’s Afro-Cuban Jazz Big Band every Sunday night at Birdland. Check the Birdland website for details.

Chico O'Farrill's Afro-Cuban Jazz Big Band
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Chico O'Farrill's Afro-Cuban Jazz Big Band
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Chico O'Farrill's Afro-Cuban Jazz Big Band
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Arturo O'Farrill, Music Director and Pianist
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Ruben Rodriguez, Bassist
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at