Press Releases

Arturo O'Farrill Leads the Latin Jazz Orchestra at the Performing Arts Center Dec. 11

Date Released: 12/4/2008

Arturo O'Farrill, who has performed with Wynton Marsalis, Dizzy Gillespie, Harry Belafonte, will conduct the Purchase Latin Jazz Orchestra on December 11 at 7:30 PM in The Performing Arts Center.  Tickets are $20 and can be purchased from the Box Office at 914-251-6200 or by visiting

O'Farrill, the new Director of the Purchase Latin Jazz Orchestra, will present "The Legacy Continues-the Music of Chico and Arturo O'Farrill," an in-depth survey of the history and evolution of Afro Cuban Jazz.  The evening will present music of his past and present.

Arturo's father Chico is regarded as one of the master architects of Afro Cuban Jazz. Born into an Irish-German-Cuban family, Chico was destined to follow the family tradition and become a lawyer.  As a teen however, he was sent to the United States where the sounds he heard would change his life and revolutionize his jazz.  After studying at the Havana Conservatory and performing in nightclubs, Chico moved to New York where he continued his studies and was hired as a staff arranger for Benny Goodman.  He penned one of Benny Goodman's biggest band hits, "Undercurrent Blues."

Arturo was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City, where he was educated at the Manhattan School of Music before heading off to the Brooklyn College Conservatory.  As a solo performer he appeared with a wide spectrum of artists including Steve Turre and The Fort Apache Band.  In 1995, Mr. O'Farrill became director of his father's Chico O'Farrill's Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra, preserving the family legacy as well as much of his father's music.  The orchestra had been in residence at New York City's Birdland for several years and it performed throughout the world.  He has recorded three albums as a leader for Milestone Records and has appeared on numerous records including the soundtrack for the movie Calle 54.

He was a special guest soloist at several landmark concerts at Jazz at Lincoln Center and was the featured artist in a Jazz in the Schools Tour with a Latin Jazz quintet performing 24 educational concerts for over 5,000 people throughout metropolitan New York.  When he left Jazz at Lincoln Center in 2007 he created the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and education of Afro Latin Jazz with a residency in the schools program of private and ensemble classes for inner city children. 

His band has toured the United States, Mexico, Europe and Asia performing at the Megaron Concert Hall in Athens, the Bern Jazz Festival, the Rialto Concert Hall in Atlanta and at their new home at Symphony Space in New York City.  Their recently released CD Song for Chico (Zoho Records) received critical acclaim.

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.

The Purchase Latin Jazz Orchestra brings the next generation of professional musicians to the concert stage through bold and innovative concerts by students from the Purchase College School of the Arts Conservatory of Music.