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Arturo O’Farrill, Omar Sosa and Etienne Charles Bring Latin Jazz to the DC JazzFest



Washington DC Jazz Festival
Washington DC Jazz Festival

The DC Jazz Festival is officially underway in the nation’s capital! The star-studded lineup for the 19th edition includes an outstanding array of performers, including several Latin and Caribbean artists including Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble, Omar Sosa Quarteto Americanos and Etienne Charles Creole Soul.

Latin jazz is regularly proudly represented at the DC Jazz Festival. Past performers include Mambo Legends Orchestra, Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Paquito D’Rivera, and Danilo Pérez, among many others, and the co-winner of the DC JazzPrix in 2021 was Cuban pianist Dayramir González. “In this era of inclusion and representation it’s important to understand that Afro Caribbean-based music is a deep part of the story of jazz. From Scott Joplin’s reference to ‘the Latin tinge” to Dizzy Gillespie’s game changing collaborations with Cuban drummer Chano Pozo to Arturo O’Farrill’s work to preserve that link and even expand on it, the histories are intertwined,” shares veteran NPR journalist and DCJF board member Felix Contreras.

On Saturday, September 2, 2023 at The Wharf, audiences will be treated to two special Latin-leaning performances. At 7:30 PM, 6x Grammy-nominee Omar Sosa will bring his Quarteto Americanos to the Transit Pier. Drawing inspiration from every corner of the world, the Cuban pianist-composer is widely loved and respected for his “fresh and original urban sound — all with a Latin jazz heart.” In 2003, Sosa received a Smithsonian Lifetime Achievement Award in Washington, DC for his contributions to the development of Latin jazz in the United States.

Grammy-nominee, Cuban Pianist Omar Sosa
Grammy-nominee, Cuban Pianist Omar Sosa

That same evening at The Wharf, Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble will perform at 8:30 PM at the Transit Pier. Descending from “first family of Afro-Cuban jazz”, O’Farril is the recipient of 8 Grammy awards, is the director of Jazz Studies at Brooklyn College and the founder of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, which is dedicated to preserving the music and heritage of Afro Latin jazz. His ten piece Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble features on his Blue Note records debut …dreaming in lions…, which was released in 2021.

Grammy-Award Winner Arturo O'Farrill
Grammy-Award Winner Arturo O’Farrill

On Sunday, September 3, 2023 Trinidadian trumpeter Etienne Charles will bring his ever-popular Creole Soul project to the Transit Pier at 5:00 PM. Ten years ago, Charles turned the musical landscape on its head with the release of Creole Soula landmark album that melded Charles’ Afro-Caribbean background with the jazz tradition. Since then, Charles has been expanding on the concept. A 2015 Guggenheim Fellow and 2022 Creative Capital Awardee, Charles will undoubtedly bring an unforgettable show to the DC Jazz Festival.

Trinidadian Performer, Composer Etienne Charles
Trinidadian Performer, Composer Etienne Charles

Earlier this year, DCJF announced a three-year partnership with the nation of Cuba, which will involve a series of in-person and virtual exchanges. This collaboration was marked by a special concert last Spring at the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba in DC with a performance by Cuban artist Melvis Santa. More information on the DC Jazz Festival can be found at

Content Source: Lydia Liebman Promotions

Web Publisher. Founder, Editor & Webmaster for Latin Jazz Network, World Music Report & That Canadian Magazine. A passionate and committed communicator with a sensibility for the arts based in Toronto, Canada.

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