Arts at UNCW

Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble

Wilmington Music: The Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Mardi Gras has evolved into much more than a religious holiday; it’s a cultural phenomenon steeped in traditions of food, costumes, and music. While types of music vary by location, all great Mardi Gras music shares a commonality—it's history you can dance to. Kenan Auditorium is thrilled to welcome Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble to the Wilmington music scene to celebrate Mardi Gras on March 5th 

The Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble is a small group format of the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, a multi Grammy-award winning group that fuses contemporary jazz with the traditions of Latin Jazz. Both the Ensemble and the Orchestra are led by Artistic Director Arturo O’Farrill. 

Born in Mexico and raised in New York City, Arturo O’Farrill is the son of Chico O’Farrill, a Cuban composer, arranger and conductor, whose musical stylings are often known as “Cubop—a play on “Bebop,” the first kind of modern jazz, developed in the 40s. As a musician, Chico O’Farrill was an innovator who strived to preserve the Cuban rhythms he grew up with in Havana while incorporating the American big band jazz styles that were popular in New York. 

Arturo O’Farrill continued his father’s musical pioneering and founded the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra in 2002 with the mission of bringing musical traditions of Afro Latin jazz to a wider general audience. In 2007, he founded the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to the performance, education, and preservation of Afro Latin music. 

In his behind-the-scenes video for Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra’s Offense of the Drum, released in 2014, Arturo O’Farrill says that when listening to Afro Latin Jazz, “you hear the history, the sounds, the language, of an entire new possibility in the conversation that we call jazz.”

Get in the groove for Mardi Gras with Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble at Kenan Auditorium March 5thTickets are available online or at the UNCW Arts Ticket Office, M-Fri 12-4 p.m. 

All tickets for the originally scheduled September 20th concert will be honored at this rescheduled performance.  

-Lindsay Lake