Album info



Label: Blue Note Records

Genre: Jazz

Subgenre: Latin Jazz

Artist: Arturo O'Farrill

Album including Album cover

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  • 1Dolphin Dance04:30
  • 2Well, You Needn't04:27
  • 3Blue State Blues04:44
  • 4Pure Emotion06:51
  • 5Obsession07:21
  • 6Darn That Dream03:28
  • 7Utviklingssang06:30
  • 8Doxy04:41
  • 9Un Poco Loco05:09
  • Total Runtime47:41

Info for Legacies

Arturo O’Farrill returns to his first love—the piano—on his remarkable new Blue Note album Legacies.

Renowned as a composer, arranger, and bandleader, here the 8-time GRAMMY-winner puts the emphasis back on his striking pianistic abilities with a 9-song set that juxtaposes stunning solo piano flights and dynamic trio performances with O’Farrill accompanied by his son, drummer Zack O’Farrill, and bassist Liany Mateo. The repertoire includes pieces by Bud Powell (“Un Poco Loco”), Thelonious Monk (“Well, You Needn’t”), Herbie Hancock (“Dolphin Dance”), Carla Bley (“Utviklingssang”), his father Chico O’Farrill (“Pure Emotion”), the Puerto Rican composer Pedro Flores (“Obsession”), his own “Blue State Blues,” and more.

"Pianist, composer, arranger, and bandleader Arturo O'Farrill hasn't cut a piano trio album since 2005's Live in Brooklyn. All told, he's released only two and the solo piano album The Noguchi Sessions in 2012. Writing, leading, and arranging for two big bands is not only time consuming, but for most, a musical mindset removed from the piano trio. O'Farrill will tell you he is a jazz pianist first, and everything else emerges from that. Legacies for Blue Note showcases his playing and interpretive skills in alternating solo and trio configurations, performing both historic jazz tunes and originals. On the trio selections, he is accompanied by his son, drummer Zack O'Farrill, and upright bassist Liany Matero.

The set opens with what may be the knottiest, most abstract version of Herbie Hancock's "Dolphin Dance." It sounds like musical cubism. The infectious melody is never fully articulated, and after quoting it in the opening, O'Farrill deconstructs the harmony, stretches the rhythm, and turns a breezy midtempo groover into a knotty improvisation. The intro to Thelonious Monk's "Well, You Needn't" would likely make its composer smile. Performing solo, O'Farrill employs a classically flavored opening that offers counterpoint and bluesy bop lyricism before introducing the earworm melody. His arpeggios run in octaves across the changes, altering the rhythm. This track, its own musical puzzle piece, is worth the purchase price on its own. Interestingly, the trio version of "Blue State Blues," an original that initially appeared on 2009's Risa Negra, isn't that different from its predecessor, but it's a tad more dramatic, if that's possible. The pianist sets a faster tempo, then explores its harmony percussively as if he were playing a bop descarga. Zack double-times his father on hi-hat, snare, and kick drum, and Matero bridges their communication with his fluid phrasing and massive tone. The standard "Darn That Dream" sounds like it was arranged by Art Tatum, as O'Farrill playing solo careens across swing, bop, classical, and post-bop with dazzling dexterity and indefatigable imagination without sacrificing the requisite elegance in the tune's DNA. He follows with a trio read of former boss Carla Bley's glorious "Utviklingssang." The original is a slow, bluesy dirge; this trio version sees the pianist assert the melody at twice the tempo, then shift the blues roots toward gospel and soul, all while extrapolating its layered harmony with real drama. Played solo, Sonny Rollins' "Doxy" is rendered with the same mischievous approach to blues. O'Farrill stacks notes and chords, making his tempos stretch like rubber bands, while his phrasing highlights the tune's harmonic subtleties and swings like mad. The set closes with a burning trio version of Bud Powell's "Un Poco Loco." O'Farrill's right hand is wildly dexterous, laying down dazzling arpeggios even as his left hand engages the bassist and drummer in rhythmic counterpoint. Legacies is a weighty, provocative album that offers fans a deep, intimate portrait of a truly exceptional piano technician, improviser, and interpreter." (Thom Jurek, AMG)

Arturo O’Farrill, piano
Liany Mateo, bass
Zack O’Farrill, drums

Arturo O’Farrill
pianist, composer, and educator, was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City. Arturo’s professional career began with the Carla Bley Band and continued as a solo performer with a wide spectrum of artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Bowie, Wynton Marsalis, and Harry Belafonte.

In 2007, he founded the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the performance, education, and preservation of Afro Latin music.

In December 2010 Arturo traveled with the original Chico O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra to Cuba, returning his father’s musicians to his homeland. He continues to travel to Cuba regularly as an informal Cultural Ambassador, working with Cuban musicians, dancers, and students, bringing local musicians from Cuba to the US and American musicians to Cuba.

Arturo has performed with orchestras and bands including his own Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra and Arturo O’Farrill Sextet, as well as other Orchestras and intimate ensembles in the US, Europe, Russia, Australia, and South America.

An avid supporter of all the Arts, Arturo has performed with Ballet Hispanico and the Malpaso Dance Company, for whom he has written three ballets. In addition, the Alvin Ailey Dance Company is touring a ballet entitled “Open Door,” choreographed by Ron Brown to several of Arturo’s compositions and recordings. Ron Brown’s own Evidence Dance Company has commissioned Arturo to compose New Conversations, which premiered at Jacob’s Pillow in Becket, MA.

Arturo has received commissions from Meet the Composer, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Philadelphia Music Project, The Apollo Theater, Symphony Space, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Young Peoples Chorus of New York, Columbia University and the New York State Council on the Arts.

Arturo’s well-reviewed and highly praised “Afro-Latin Jazz Suite” from the album CUBA: The Conversation Continues (Motéma) took the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition and the 2016 Latin Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album. His powerful “Three Revolutions” from the album Familia-Tribute to Chico and Bebo was the 2018 Grammy Award (his sixth) winner for Best Instrumental Composition. Arturo’s current album “Four Questions” (ZOHO) is the first to embody all original compositions, including the title track, which features the brilliant orator Dr. Cornel West.

In 2019, Arturo was Artist in Residence for The Greene Space in New York City, for which he created a four-concert series including a newly commissioned composition. The series title was “Radical Acts and Musical Deviancy.”

In 2020 Arturo’s weekly concerts with the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, dubbed “Virtual Birdland,” top the list of 10 Best Quarantine Concerts in the New York Times.

Arturo is Professor of Global Jazz Studies and Assistant Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and has been honored as a Steinway Artist for many years.

This album contains no booklet.

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