Chico O'Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra

New York City: Baruch College (The City University of New York) will host "The Chico O'Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra" as part of the Milt Hinton Jazz Perspectives concert series, now in its 13th season. The performance will take place in Mason Hall Auditorium, 17 Lexington Avenue (23rd and Lexington) on November 4, 2004. The concert begins at 1 p.m. It is free and open to the general public and Baruch students, faculty and administration.

This concert-organized by the Milt Hinton Jazz Perspectives Committee-is funded by the Baruch College Performing Arts Center and The Baruch College Fund.

The Chico O'Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra is a direct link to Afro Cuban Jazz's greatest composer: Chico O'Farrill. For a half-century, Chico O'Farrill was an innovator who fused the soul-wrenching rhythms of African-Cuba with the harmonies of American jazz. O'Farrill was a master of sweeping, symphonic compositions that embraced his love of Debussy, Stravinsky, and the mambo.

When Chico O'Farrill passed away in June of 2001 the baton was passed to his son, composer, arranger and pianist Arturo O'Farrill. Arturo O'Farrill is an internationally renowned musician and educator in his own right. His performance and recording credits include, Wynton Marsalis, Papo Vazquez, Carla Bley, Steve Turre, Dizzy Gillespie, and Joseph Bowie. He is the musical director for Jazz at Lincoln Center's Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. He has been commissioned by Meet the Composer, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and, most recently, The Big Apple Circus.

The Chico O'Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra thrives and is swinging harder than ever, just recently celebrating its sixth anniversary of Sundays at New York's famous jazz nightclub, Birdland. In addition, the orchestra has performed at every major jazz festival in the world, including The JVC festival in New York, the North Sea Jazz festival in Holland, the Pori Jazz festival in Finland, and the Marciac Jazz festival in France, among many others. The orchestra has also toured throughout Spain and the United States. They have performed in some of the most prestigious concert halls in the World including Alice Tully Hall in New York, Chicago's Symphony Hall and the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.

As in the last two years, the Hinton committee has organized a series of concerts starting with the November 4, 2004 O'Farrill Orchestra performance. Three other concerts are planned, including a performance by a zydeco group on December 2. Two other concerts are planned for February 10 and March 10 (artists TBA).

The inaugural Milt Hinton Jazz Perspectives concert in 1992 starred jazz bassist Milt Hinton himself together with his picks for an "All-Star" ensemble: Seldon Powell (saxophonist), Bob Rosengarden (Drums), Mike Walters (saxophone and woodwinds), Derek Smith (piano), Jay D'Amico (piano), Mike Grey (trombone), and John "Bucky" Pizzarelli (guitar). This magical first concert saw famed trumpeter Wynton Marsalis join the group during the second half.

The following year Tito Puente and his big band also played to a full house with some students and faculty dancing in the aisles. In 1994 the concert was billed as a "Tribute to Women in Jazz" and featured a performance by singer Ruth Brown and Friends and the group Straight Ahead. In 1995 trombonist extraordinaire Slide Hampton and the Big Band Bird filled the bill for the fourth annual concert.

In 1996 America's jazz statesman Dr. Billy Taylor and the Billy Taylor Trio graced the Baruch College stage. In 1997 Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band gave a performance that offered a unique blend of Latin and jazz traditions. The 1998 concert presented virtuoso drummer Sherrie Maricle and the Diva Big Band.

The world famous Mingus Big Band played at the 8th annual concert in 1999. The Bronx Horns, consisting of Tito Puente's brass section, together with Dave Valentin (flute) and Randy Brecker (trumpet), performed at the 9th annual concert in 2000. In 2001, The Heath Brothers ("Percy, Jimmy, and Tootie") with special guest Jimmy Owens, performed at the 10th annual concert.

In 2002 (season #11) the Hinton Committee expanded its offerings with a series of concerts, including a November 6, 2002 concert featuring "The Latin-Jazz All Stars" with several world-renown Latin-jazz musicians: trumpeter/leader Michael Mossman, tenor saxophonist David Sanchez, trombonist Steve Turre, pianist Arturo O'Farrill, alto saxophonist Antonio Hart, bassist Andy Gonzalez, and percussionist Phoenix Rivera. The 2002-2003 season also featured the Marty Sheller Big Band, Chris Washburne's SYOTOS Latin-Jazz ensemble, and "Rumbamerica," an Afro-Cuban ensemble made up of some of New York's top Afro-Cuban drummers, singers, and dancers.

The 2003-2004 season featured the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the "Sax in the City" quartet, the Ted Piltzecker Septet, and the Roberta Piket Trio.

For further information contact:
Eugene Marlow, Baruch College

Chico O'Farrell Afro-Jazz Orchestra

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The City University of New York