ALJA Presents: Afro Latin Jazz Now!

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Afro Latin Jazz Now
The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance Presents: GRAMMY® Award-Winning Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra’s 8th Season at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, NYC

Advance Tickets: $40/$30/$20
Day-Of-Show Box Office Tickets: $45/$35/$25
Seniors/Students/Symphony Space Members: $20/$15/$10
Tickets are Available at the Box Office and www.symphonyspace.org; Via Phone: 212.864.5400

January 30 – 31, 2015, 8:00 pm

An Evening with Lionel Loueke Featuring Big Band Arrangements of Select Loueke Compositions. A pre-performance moderated discussion led by Ned Sublette will take place at Symphony Space on Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, 7:00 pm

Following a monumental trip to Havana, Cuba (Dec. 16 – 22, 2014) while the Obama administration made their historic announcement regarding renewed diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba, GRAMMY® Award-winners Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra (ALJO) return to New York City after the full orchestra’s debut appearance at the Havana International Jazz Festival and their recording sessions with Cuba’s premier composers for O’Farrill’s new album, Cuba: The Conversation Continues (May 2015). Now stateside, ALJO is thrilled to return to the Symphony Space stage for An Evening with Lionel Loueke on January 30 & 31, 2015. Presenting the show is O’Farrill’s nonprofit, The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, a proud visiting presenter at Symphony Space. Interviews and hi-res photos are available upon request.

One of the New Year’s most-anticipated music collaborations, O’Farrill teams up with Benin-born artist Lionel Loueke to present big band arrangements of select works from the celebrated guitarist’s catalogue. Loueke has been widely praised for his fusion of traditional West African music with modern jazz harmonies, unique vocal inflections, and complex time signatures. O’Farrill notes, “Lionel is a tour de force. His performances are incredibly powerful and he plays the music of the cosmos. The sounds he gets from his guitar, how he sings, and what he does with his presentation, it’s not to be believed. We are extremely excited to be working with him.”

The following Loueke compositions will be performed and arranged for the ALJO: “Benny’s Tune”, “Farfina”, “Freedom Dance”, “Gbedetemin”, “Virgin Forest”, “Griot”, “Hope”, and “Vivi”.

O’Farrill adds, “We purposely put Afro in the Alliance’s name because we know that Africa is the source for all our music. In our programs, we seek to connect back to Africa as it is the foundation that nourishes both our work and our very souls.”

Lionel Loueke comments, “I am very excited to be a special guest of Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. It is going to be an honor to share my music with Arturo, whom I consider a very inventive composer, arranger and talented conductor. Although Latin & African music are similarly percussive genres, they are very unique at the same time. It’s going to be amazing to combine the two and make them speak together, thanks to the talent of Arturo.”

Loueke made his major-label debut in 2008 when Blue Note Records released his album Karibu, featuring guest appearances by Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. Loueke’s release, Mwaliko (2010), marked a collection of duo and trio performances with fellow Benin native Angelique Kidjo, Cameroonian bassist and singer Richard Bona, bassist Esperanza Spalding, and drummer Marcus Gilmore, doing a version of Shorter’s classic composition “Nefertiti.” On his latest album, Heritage (2012), Loueke collaborates with label mate Robert Glasper. Heritage finds Loueke — who was hailed by The New York Times as “a gentle virtuoso” — exploring a more electric sound with a new trio featuring Derrick Hodge on electric bass and Mark Guiliana on drums. The album presents seven new compositions by Loueke, two by Glasper, and one co-written by the two. Glasper also contributes piano and keyboards to six tracks, while singer Gretchen Parlato provides background vocals on two tracks. Following his acceptance into the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz (University of Southern California; 2001-2003), Loueke has performed alongside a laundry list of today’s greatest jazz stars (i.e. Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, Kenny Garrett, Roy Hargrove, Sting, etc).

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 was Educated at Manhattan School of Music, Brooklyn College Conservatory and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. He 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.

An acclaimed composer with a frequent new ground-breaking and forward-looking perspective, Mr. O’Farrill has received commissions from Meet the Composer, the Big Apple Circus, the Philadelphia Music Project, Symphony Space, and the Bronx Museum of the Arts. He has also composed music for films, including Hollywoodland and Salud. His debut album with the Orchestra, Una Noche Inolvidable, earned a GRAMMY Award nomination in 2006 and the Orchestra’s second album, Song for Chico, (ZOHO) earned a GRAMMY Award for Best Latin Jazz Album in 2009. In February 2011, Mr. O’Farrill and the ALJO released their third GRAMMY nominated album, 40 Acres and a Burro (ZOHO). In 2011, O’Farrill released his first solo album, The Noguchi Sessions, (ZOHO). On May 6, 2014, O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra released their latest album, The Offense of the Drum, on Motéma Music.

Arturo O’Farrill is an artist in residence at Harlem School of the Arts and Casita Maria Center for Arts & Culture, and on the faculty of Brooklyn College and the Manhattan School of Music. He’s currently collaborating with director Moises Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater on an Afro Cuban version of Bizet’s opera, Carmen. He is also a member of the Board of Governors of the New York Chapter of NARAS, and is a Steinway Artist.

About the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra
Led by pianist, composer, and director Arturo O’Farrill, the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra (ALJO) comprises 18 eminent soloists. Performing classic works in the Afro Latin Jazz tradition, the Orchestra helps to preserve this vital musical genre, and commissioning new works provides the next generation of composers, arrangers and instrumentalists with an opportunity to further explore and define Afro Latin Jazz. Established in 2002, the ALJO has toured internationally, bringing the rhythms and power of Latin jazz to places as far away as China. For the past seven years, ALJO has been delighted to perform regularly at Symphony Space. The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra are artists-in-residence at the Harlem School of the Arts. Visit us on YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/AfroLatinJazzNY

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 educational programs. ALJA self produces the Orchestra’s annual performance season at Symphony Space (2007 – 2014), 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 initiatives include the Afro Latin Jazz Academy of Music in-school residency program serving public schools citywide with instrumental and ensemble instruction, and the pre-professional youth orchestra, the Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats, which prepares the next generation of musicians. The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance is a partner project of the Fund for the City of New York and maintains an administrative office at the Harlem School of the Arts — The Herb Alpert Center where O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra are currently artists-in-residence. For more information on the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, please visit www.afrolatinjazz.org.

The work of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance is made possible with generous support from:
Foundations
: Arnhold Foundation, Leonard Bernstein Family Foundation, BMI Foundation, The Brenner Family Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, D’Addario Music Foundation, Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, Fund for the City of New York, Fan Fox, and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, National Recreation Foundation ; Corporations and Others: Bronx Lebanon Hospital, Colgate Palmolive, Con Edison, Emerging Global Shares, Palladium Equity Partners, WABC-TV; Public: New York City Department of Cultural Affairs-Cultural Development Fund, New York State Council on the Arts. City Council Members Helen Rosenthal and Antonio Reynoso, Manhattan Borough President Cultural Tourism Grant and other generous individual donors.

The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra’s FY14-15 season is supported by GOYA Foods and NYC & Company Foundation. WBGO is a media partner.