Monday, October 27, 2008

A Legend Plays the South Bronx

A little less than a year before his passing, Chico O'Farrill brought his Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra to St. Mary's Park in the South Bronx. When speaking about Latin Jazz, an often misused, misunderstood term, one cannot leave out the influence of the great Chico O'Farrill. The triumverate is without question, Machito (with Mario Bauza's unquestionable influence), Dizzy Gillespie, who was enraptured by the clave driven sounds he heard and Chico O'Farrill, the composer/arranger par excellence of the early stages of the genre. Here we present three of his pieces including the Afro Cuban Suite written for Machito and featuring among others Charlie Parker when first played and recorded. Only 60-70 people showed up for this concert. Chico O'Farrill in the midst of the community, gone unrecognized for the most part. It behooves those of us who love this music to make sure that successive generations do not lose sight of the influences upon which the contemporary is built. Among the great players gracing the stage are Arturo, Chico's son, on piano, Andy Gonzalez on bass, Joe Gonzalez on bongo, Rolando Guerrero on congas, Robbie Ameen on traps, Papo Vasquez on bone and Mike Mossman on trumpet.

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