From New York’s famous Blue Note Jazz Festival to the Ljubljana Festival

29. 06. 2024

A very special concert is happening tomorrow: the first ever performance in Slovenia and the only performance in Europe this year by Arturo O’Farrill & Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. From 9.00 pm onwards, the Križanke Summer Theatre will thrill to irresistible dance rhythms at this unique encounter with a very special big band. The concert is a co-production by the Ljubljana Festival and Brane Rončel, a man with an international reputation as a concert organiser and a key figure linking the global jazz scene to Ljubljana.

On 30 June, as part of the 72nd Ljubljana Festival, Arturo O’Farrill, one of the most important exponents of the Latin jazz scene, is coming to Križanke with the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. O’Farrill is the founder of Belongó (formerly the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance), the most important Latin jazz organisation in New York. Above all, though, he maintains, teaches and promotes the Latin jazz tradition. The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra is his main musical project. Following their appearance at the iconic Blue Note Jazz Festival in early June, we will now have the opportunity to hear them in Ljubljana.

Arturo O’Farrill is the son of the Cuban jazz composer Chico O’Farrill and the Mexican singer Lupe Valero. O’Farrill senior worked with many of the biggest names in jazz (Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz) and Latin music (Machito, Celia Cruz, Tito Puente and others). Arturo, born in Mexico, was exposed to both genres from an early age. His mother was another formative influence on his musical personality. The family moved to New York City in 1965, where Arturo started piano lessons at the age of six.

Today Arturo O’Farrill is the leader of the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, founded in 2002 and “one of the best jazz orchestras in existence”. They have received Grammy nominations for almost every album they have released and have won a total of seven Grammys to date, most recently for Best Latin Jazz Album for last year’s Fandango at the Wall in New York. Arturo O’Farrill can be heard in his other role as a jazz pianist – the role he says suits him best – on his most recent small-group album Legacies (Blue Note, 2023).

Arturo O’Farrill’s 18-piece big band maintains and continues the tradition of illustrious predecessors such as Eddie Palmieri, Mario Bauzá, Dizzy Gillespie, Machito, Chano Pozo, Tito Puente and Chico O’Farrill. All names that will blend together in the Latin jazz sound that we will hear at this exclusive concert appearance in Ljubljana. Cha-cha, mambo, rumba, songo… These are the dance rhythms with which Arturo O’Farrill and his Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra from New York, featuring top soloists, will entertain us as they conjure up the jazz concert of the year.