Arturo O’Farrill, pianist, composer, educator and winner of the Latin Jazz USA Outstanding Achievement Award for 2003, was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City. In 2002, Mr. O’Farrill created the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra for Jazz at Lincoln Center due in part to a large and very demanding body of substantial music in the genre of Latin and Afro Cuban Jazz that deserves to be much more widely appreciated and experienced by the general jazz audience. His debut album with the Orchestra Una Noche Inolvidable earned a GRAMMY award nomination in 2006.
Educated at the Manhattan School of Music, Brooklyn College Conservatory, and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, Mr. O’Farrill played piano with the Carla Bley Big Band from 1979 through 1983. He then went on to develop as a solo performer with a wide spectrum of artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Steve Turre, Freddy Cole, The Fort Apache Band, Lester Bowie, Wynton Marsalis, and Harry Belafonte.
In 1995 Mr. O’Farrill agreed to direct the band that preserved much of his father’s music, Chico O’Farrill’s Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, which has been in residence at Birdland, New York City’s famed nightclub, for the past 13 years, as well as performing throughout the world as a solo artist and with his smaller groups.
Besides recording eight albums as a leader for Milestone Records, 32 Jazz, Zoho and M & I (Bloodlines, A Night in Tunisia, Cumana Bop, Live in Brooklyn, The Jim Seeley/Arturo O’Farrill Quintet, Song for Chico with the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra and In These Shoes, with Claudia Acuna), Mr. O’Farrill has appeared on numerous records including the Grammy-nominated Heart of a Legend, Carambola, and the soundtrack to the critically acclaimed movie Calle 54. Mr. O’Farrill was a special guest soloist at three landmark Jazz at Lincoln Center concerts— Afro-Cuban Jazz: Chico O’Farrill’s Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, November 1995; Con Alma: The Latin Tinge in Big Band Jazz, September 1998; and the 2001 Jazz at Lincoln Center Gala: The Spirit of Tito Puente, November 2001. In the Spring and Fall of 2002, he was also the featured artist in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Jazz in the Schools Tour, when he led a Latin jazz quintet for more than 50 educational performances that reached over 10,000 students in NYC metropolitan area schools.
As an educator, he has taught master classes, seminars and workshops throughout the world for students and teachers of all levels. Recently, Mr. O’Farrill received the Distinguished Alumnus Medal from Brooklyn College and served as the Alan and Wendy Pesky Artist in Residence at Lafayette College. In the summer of 2007, Mr. O’Farrill served as Visiting Artist at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and in 2007-2008 was Assistant Professor of Jazz at The University of Massachussetts in Amherst. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor at SUNY Purchase.
Throughout the past few years, Mr. O’Farrill has toured. the U.S., Europe and Asia, and in the Spring of 2006, led the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra on a tour of Mexico. In 2007, the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra left Jazz at Lincoln Center to pursue its own educational and performance opportunities. To that end, the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance was created as a not for profit organization dedicated to the preservation , furthering, and education of Afro Latin jazz.
Since their departure from Jazz at Lincoln Center, the orchestra has performed in the prestigious Megaron Concert Hall in Athens, The Bern Jazz Festival, The Rialto Concert Hall in Atlanta and with their new performance partner New York’s acclaimed Symphony Space they have presented their own concert season ending 2008 with Musica Nueva their celebration of latin jazz throughout the Americas. They have also established a residency in the schools program with weekly private and ensemble classes for inner city kids.
Their recently released CD Song for Chico (Zoho Records) has received unanimous critical acclaim and in February, 2009, won the GRAMMY for Best Latin Jazz Album of the Year. In the 2009-2010 season, the band will be performing their third season of concerts in their new home, Symphony Space. A recognized composer, Mr. O’Farrill has received commissions from Meet the Composer, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Philadelphia Music Project, and The Big Apple Circus. He has also composed music for films including Hollywoodland and Salud. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, classical pianist Alison Deane, and their sons, Zachary and Adam, both accomplished musicians and students at Laguardia High School for the Performing Arts. He is currently on the faculty of SUNY Purchase.
Adam O’Farrill is a 15-year old jazz trumpeter born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Being the grandson of Afro-Cuban Jazz composer and arranger Chico O’Farrill, and the son of GRAMMY-award winning Latin jazz pianist and composer Arturo O’Farrill, Adam clearly has a rich musical background. Having started studying classical piano at age 6, and starting trumpet at age 8, he has been playing music for almost his whole life. Ever since then, he has had many achievements in the world of music. He has had the privilege of playing in many well-known venues, such as Birdland Jazz Club, the Jazz Standard, Mount Fuji Jazz Festival 2009, the White House, Madison Square Garden, and Symphony Space. He has had the opportunity to perform with critically acclaimed artists such as Stefon Harris, Curtis Fuller, Randy Weston, Arturo O’Farrill, and Benny Golson. He received the Outstanding Soloist Award at the 1st and 2nd Annual Charles Mingus Competitions, was chosen to participate in the 2010 GRAMMY Jazz Ensemble, and was commissioned to write a piece for Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra in the fall of 2009. He has studied with Jim Seeley, Michael Rodriguez, Bobby Shew, and Nathan Warner, and is a student at Laguardia High School for the Performing Arts and the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division, where he received the 2009-2010 Jazz Scholarship.
Zack O’Farrill was born in Brooklyn, NY to a musical family. He started playing drums at the age of 8 and has performed at Birdland Jazz Club, Smoke, Dizzy’s, Marion’s in Switzerland, and the Mt. Fuji Jazz Festival, and with musicians as diverse as Arturo O’Farrill, Stefon Harris, Steve Turre, Randy Weston, and Andy Gonzalez. He graduated from the prestigious LaGuardia Arts High School in New York where he became very interested in many different types of “jazz” as well as classical, world, hip-hop, and various popular musics in ways that continue to influence his playing. To this day, he is constantly searching for new concepts and techniques to use in his own music. Currently, Zack is in the jazz performance program at the City College of New York where he is a Macaulay Scholar.
Gregg August spans the jazz, Latin jazz, classical, and avant-garde scenes as a bassist, composer, and arranger. August has played with Ray Barretto, Ornette Coleman, Paquito D’Rivera, Arturo O’Farrill, James Moody, The Chico O’Farrill Big Band, The Lincoln Center’s Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, and Ochun. In 2003, he formed his own sextet which has recorded two critically acclaimed albums: Late August (Iacuessa Records) and One Peace (Iacuessa Records).
As a classical bassist, August frequently performs with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Mark Morris Dance Group, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the American Composer’s Orchestra, and held the Principal Bass position with La Orquesta Ciutat de Barcelona. He is also a faculty member at the Bang on a Can Summer Music Institute at MassMoca.
Gregg studied jazz composition with Ray Wright and performance with pianist Bill Dobbins at the Eastman School of Music. He received his Master’s degree from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Homer Mensch. August is a member of the JD Allen Trio and Assistant Principal Bass with the Brooklyn Philharmonic.