Havana, Cuba, Dec 18.- Arturo O’Farril, pianist and director of New York’s Afro Latin Jazz orchestra spoke about the significance of the Cuban music in a lecture offered at the Mella Theater in Havana, as part of the ongoing Jazz Plaza Festival.
O’Farril, son of Cuban-born musician Chico O’Farrill, said Cuban music is special and that he is a defender of its flavor, swing and beat. He said it was very important for him to play in the land of his grandparents and his father, who was one of the greatest Cuban musicians of his time.
O’Farril said his work has been highly influenced by his Cuban roots and confessed that the trip to the island was like a debt with his father who always wanted to return to Cuba but couldn’t do so because of his frail health.
Invited to the 26th International Jazz Plaza Festival of Havana, Afro Latin Jazz has prepared a repertoire of songs mainly by Chico O’Farrill. The program also includes works by other important Cuban musicians like Mario Bauza and Francisco Raul Gutierrez (Machito).
The Orchestra will play for the first time “Fathers and Sons: From Havana to New York and Back,” accompanied by Cuban pianist Chucho Valdes. The song is dedicated to all families dedicated to keep Afro Latin jazz alive.
Arturo said in addition to playing jazz, the purpose of his trip to Cuba is to tell the world that jazz cannot be understood without taking into account the Cuban component that is part of its roots.
After their arrival in Cuba, members of Afro Latin Jazz visited the Amadeo Roldan Conservatory and gave a concert at the San Jose de las Lajas park in Havana province.
The orchestra will give several concerts during the Jazz Plaza 2010 Festival running from December 16 through 19. (acn)