Arturo O’Farrill is a pianist and composer based in New York City. He is the son of pioneering Latin jazz musician, arranger and bandleader Chico O’Farrill. When his father died in 2001, Arturo became bandleader of the legendary Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra and took over the tradition of playing the NYC jazz institution Birdland each Sunday night. Soon thereafter, Wynton Marsalis offered O’Farrill the opportunity to form and lead an Afro-Cuban jazz band that would perform regularly at Lincoln Center. He named the new band the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra (ALJO), and opted for traditional jazz big band instrumentation with the addition of a three-piece Cuban percussion section. Now a well-oiled touring machine, the entire 17-piece band makes a rare appearance on the West Coast and their debut in Royce Hall with this performance.
The Orchestra is hot on the heels of their newly-released album Cuba: The Conversation Continues which was recorded in Havana. The record captures the ongoing musical dialog of "an imaginary conversation between Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo" and continues to repair the rift between the United States and Cuba with the power of this "universal" music.