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New Home for the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance

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Afro Latin Music & Arts Center

Harlem, NY — Wednesday, August 18, 2021 –The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance (ALJA), in partnership with Lantern Organization and Mega Development, announce today, along with the New York City Department of Housing Development and Preservation, plans to bring a new 16,000 square feet Afro Latin Music & Arts Center along with 330 affordable housing units to East Harlem. The project, Timbale Terrace, will construct a new mixed-use development on the east side of Park Avenue between East 118th Street and East 119th Street (formerly a NYPD 25th Precinct Parking Site) with a performing arts center operated by the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance. Timbale Terrace will offer housing to low-income families while the Afro Latin Music & Arts Center will provide community programs, music and technical production training, after-school programs, free arts education classes, community event spaces, world-class live performances, and more.

“East Harlem is the community that best represents the mission of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, to use music as an entry point for service to the community and to reflect back to that community the beauty and ingenuity of its citizens,” comments Arturo O’Farrill, Founder, Artistic Director, Afro Latin Jazz Alliance. “Partnering with the City of New York, the Lantern Organization and Mega Development is an opportunity to put theory into daily practice. We are honored to lock arms with these partners and serve the people of East Harlem in a manner designed by their needs. Timbale Terrace will be a place that welcomes all!”

“We feel that this is a historic moment for New York: to witness the creative connection between affordable housing and the performing arts in a way that enhances the life of people in our communities and specifically in East Harlem,” adds Marietta Ulacia, Executive Director, ALJA. “The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, in partnership with Lantern organization and Mega Development, is uniquely positioned to develop the first performing arts center dedicated to Afro Latin music and arts in East Harlem. ALJA’s commitment to free educational programs, music performances, community engagement, and offering a recording studio, archival library, and café will be placed at the service of the community for the benefit of everyone.”

“ALJA is very excited to be an integral part of the Timbale Terrace development to create a vibrant project that will be a resource for the entire East Harlem community,” says James R. Wacht, President of Sierra Real Estate, ALJA board member and Head of the Education Committee. “This project will allow the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance to expand our performance and educational programming, which currently enriches over 1,000 elementary, middle and high school students in underserved NYC public schools. Our Fat Cat youth ensembles will now have a permanent home that will enable us to attract an even more diverse and talented group of middle and high schoolers. The theater will become the new home for our seven-time, GRAMMY Award-winning Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra that has been performing at Birdland for the past 25 years.”

For nearly two decades, the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance has served as a leading New York City cultural institution preserving the music and heritage of Afro Latin jazz. The opening of their very own Afro Latin Music & Arts Center affords an opportunity to advance a wider range of innovative Latin jazz programs to diverse communities across the metro area. Timbale Terrace consolidates and expands ALJA’s varied initiatives offering comprehensive support to their close network of standout musicians and educators in the form of live performances, educational teaching ventures, individual artist grants, and an ability to participate in a citywide lottery for apartments at Timbale Terrace. 50% of the affordable units will be given a community preference status for residents who live in East Harlem (or served by the Community Board district of the project, Manhattan CB #11). Many teaching artists and musicians (with or without families) will qualify as Timbale Terrace applicants based on their household income.

Along with Lantern Organization and Mega Development, ALJA is eager to work with essential local arts and cultural groups such as Art For Change, the Association of Hispanic Arts, El Museo del Barrio, La Casa de la Herencia Cultural Puertorriqueña, Speaking In Rhythms, Taller Boricua PR Workshop, and many others.

ALJA’s outstanding contributions to the arts and cultural sectors of New York City ensures that Latin jazz will be kept alive and well for generations to come to enjoy.
For more information regarding ALJA, please visit: afrolatinjazz.org

About Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra

GRAMMY Award winning pianist, composer and educator Arturo O’Farrill — leader of the “first family of Afro-Cuban Jazz” (New York Times) — was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City. Son of the late, great composer Chico O’Farrill, Arturo played piano in Carla Bley’s Big Band from 1979 through 1983 and earned a reputation as a soloist in groups led by Dizzy Gillespie, Steve Turre, Freddy Cole, Lester Bowie, Wynton Marsalis and Harry Belafonte. In 2002, he established the GRAMMY® winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra in order to bring the vital musical traditions of Afro Latin jazz to a wider general audience, and to greatly expand the contemporary Latin jazz big band repertoire through commissions to artists across a wide stylistic and geographic range.

Following his 2009 GRAMMY® Award for “Best Latin Jazz Album” for the Orchestra’s debut recording, Song for Chico (ZOHO), O’Farrill has received numerous GRAMMY® wins for The Offense of the Drum (“Best Latin Jazz Album”), Cuba: The Conversation Continues (“The Afro Latin Jazz Suite,” “Best Instrumental Composition”), his album with Chucho Valdés, Familia: Tribute to Bebo & Chico, won a GRAMMY® Award in the “Best Instrumental Composition” category for his composition, “Three Revolutions,” and Cuba: The Conversation Continues won a 2016 Latin GRAMMY® for “Best Latin Jazz Album.” This past March 2021, O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra won their 7th GRAMMY® for Four Questions, with Cornel West as guest orator. September 2018, O’Farrill released his album, Fandango at the Wall: A Soundtrack for the United States, Mexico, and Beyond, featuring the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, Antonio Sanchez, Regina Carter, Akua Dixon, Mandy Gonzalez, Patricio Hidalgo, Rahim AlHaj, and Ramón Gutiérrez Hernández. This was also released as a documentary for HBO MAX called Fandango at the Wall.

In 2019, O’Farrill was appointed Professor at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music in the Global Jazz Studies department and is currently the Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. O’Farrill is a Steinway Artist and records for Blue Note Records.

Afro Latin Jazz Alliance

The non-profit Afro Latin Jazz Alliance (ALJA) was established by Arturo O’Farrill in 2007 to promote Afro Latin Jazz through a comprehensive array of performance and education programs. ALJA’s mission is to perform, educate about, and preserve the music of all of the Americas, emanating from African and indigenous roots, through the entry point of jazz. ALJA embraces its mission with a commitment to social justice, equity, inclusion, and the equality of all cultures worldwide. ALJA produces the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra’s annual performance season in New York, and maintains a weekly engagement for the Orchestra at the famed jazz club Birdland. The Alliance also maintains a world-class collection of Latin jazz musical scores and recordings. ALJA’s education programs include the Afro Latin Jazz Academy of Music (ALJAM), an in-school residency program serving public schools citywide with instrumental and ensemble instruction, the pre-professional youth orchestra; the Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats, which prepares the next generation of musicians, and the Global Rhythms in Our Tribe (G.R.I.O.T.); a community music program that engages underserved youth in anti-violence activities. The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance maintains administrative offices in Harlem.

Source: Jesse P. Cutler, JP Cutler Media, 925.253.3163, jesse@jpcutlermedia.com

Founder, Editor, Webmaster: 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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Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band to release new recording: “Vox Humana”

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Drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, bandleader, educator, Bobby Sanabria
Drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, bandleader, educator, Bobby Sanabria

Celebrating 25 years! The multi-Grammy nominated Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band is set to release their new recording: “Vox Humana” featuring vocalists Janis Siegel, Antoinette Montague, Jennifer Jade Ledesna.

Recorded Live at Dizzy’s Club Cola in NYC
Release Date: Spring 2023
Record Label: Jazzheads

New York – January 18th – On the heels of their Grammy nominated and 2019 Jazz Journalists Association Album of the Year Award winning critically acclaimed masterwork, West Side Story Reimagined, and in celebration of their 25th anniversary – drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, bandleader, educator, Bobby Sanabria and his Multiverse Big Band return with their most ambitious work to date, VOX HUMANA.

Bobby states, “Over the course of our many Grammy nominated albums we’ve occasionally featured tracks with vocals. But I’ve always envisioned doing an entire vocal album framed by the Multiverse Big Band. Now with three of today’s greatest contemporary singing talents – multi-Grammy award winner Janis Siegel from the Manhattan Transfer, blues and jazz Queen Antoinette Montague, and the multilingual powerhouse, Jennifer Jade Ledesna, today that vision has finally become a reality.

The individually distinct voices that Janis, Antoinette, and Jennifer possess make them each unique. But the X factor they all have is they are all masterful improvisors in the best sense of the jazz tradition. Added to the mix is our great conguero, Oreste Abrantes, who also sings lead on two tracks. Having that multi- dimensional vocal talent framed by the power, nuance, and tonal variety that only a big band can provide, combined with the repertoire I’ve chosen to showcase them and the band and the incredible variety of Afro- Latin, straight ahead swing, funk, R&B, and rock rhythmic vocabulary that we are masters of and readily have at our disposal in the Multiverse, I believe VOX HUMANA will prove to be our greatest achievement. 

Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band: "Vox Humana"
Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band: “Vox Humana”

That repertoire has a personal meaning to me as I see VOX HUMANA as a biographical work. I’m a product of my environment. I’m a Nuyorican, a person of Puerto Rican descent growing up in New York City. In my case the South Bronx during a time period when pop, jazz, R&B, rock, funk, and Latin music of all kinds all co-existed as equals. It was the last era when the big bands of masters like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Machito, Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, Don Ellis, and more were in the public eye, and they became my heroes. Vocalists who could deliver a message with subtlety, nuance, and when needed, power, were called upon to deliver poetry crafted by genius song writers. You’ll hear all that and more through the soaring vocals and improv talents of Janis, Antoinette, and Jennifer, along with Oreste, as well as the incredible jazz-oriented arrangements and exciting Pan Afro-Latin rhythms played by a big band that literally takes no prisoners when it hits the stage.”

The repertoire Bobby speaks of includes 1 original and 12 unique re-workings of pop hits like Spooky, Christine Aguilera’s Genie In a Bottle, and Steely Dan’s Do It Again; NEA Jazz Master Eddie Palmieri’s, Mi Congo and Puerto Rico along with the island’s greatest composer, Rafael Hernandez’s, Capullito De Aleli; the classic Joe Cuba R&B bolero, To Be With You; Brazilian standards Partido Alto and Amazonas; and from the world of Broadway theater, I Love You Porgy, and the iconic jump blues, Let The Good Times Roll. The CD also includes an original message bearing piece, Who Taught You That, as well as what may possibly be the most exciting interpretation of the Ellington associated classic, Caravan, and that has ever been recorded. 

Adding to the excitement of the performance, VOX HUMANA was recorded in front of a live audience. Bobby states, “As with our previous work, we recorded VOX HUMANA live at NYC’s Dizzy’s Club Coca – Cola. My musicians represent NYC’s finest. That means they’re the greatest in the world. The added level of excitement created by the audience inspired us in the MULTIVERSE Big Band to a heightened new level of performance virtuosity that listeners will hear explode out of the speakers just as the audience at Dizzy’s experienced in person.”

The history of the Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band is indeed one based on his rich multi-cultural heritage as a Nuyorican growing up in New York City’s South Bronx. His concept of having a big band that has no genre boundaries with limitless possibilities was forged 25 years ago back in 1998. It has yielded a series of groundbreaking, critically acclaimed albums that have all been Grammy-nominated with the band thrilling audiences worldwide at venues like the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, The Ravinia Festival, Verona Jazz Festival in Europe, and more.

Content Source: Two for the Show Media

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