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Multi-GRAMMY® Award-winning composer/pianist/educator Arturo O'Farrill and the non-profit The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance (ALJA) continue their 18th Anniversary live performance season with Jazz Across The Americas: Argentina -- A Tribute To Lalo Schifrin at Symphony Space on Friday, January 17 & Saturday, January 18, 2020.

Jazz Across The Americas: Argentina -- A Tribute To Lalo Schifrin features Arturo O'Farrill alongside his acclaimed 18-piece Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra (ALJO) with standout performances by an array of Argentina's premier artists. The two-night engagement is guest curated and features performances by bassist/composer Pablo Aslan -- a longtime Lalo Schifrin collaborator -- as well as vocalist/composer Sofia Rei, in collaboration with O'Farrill. The evening also features pianist/keyboardist Leo Genovese, drummer/percussionist Franco Pinna, guitarist Juancho Herrera, and guest conductor Gabriel Senanes.

Jazz Across The Americas: Argentina -- A Tribute To Lalo Schifrin highlights various composers and arrangers such as Gabriel Senanes, Richard Nant, Pedro Giraudo, and legendary folklorist Leda Valladares. The language of jazz and tango, of Africa, Europe, and Argentina are irrevocably intertwined in the genius of Lalo Schifrin. His stamp on American culture, from Hollywood to the concert stage and beyond is irrefutable. Arturo O'Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra celebrate Schifrin's visionary "Gillespiana Suite" and reflect on its impact on contemporary masters like Guillermo Klein, Emilio Solla, and many others.

For the first time in more than 25 years, the "Gillespiana Suite" (written by Lalo Schifrin in the early days of his career for Dizzy Gillespie) will be conducted by Pablo Aslan. The featured soloists on the work are drawn from the orchestra itself: Jim Seeley and Seneca Black on trumpet, Alejandro Aviles on flute and Roman Filiu on alto sax.

Lalo Schifrin was born into a musical Argentinian family in 1932; his father was concertmaster at the Buenos Aires Philharmonic. Following his collegiate studies at the Paris Conservatory, Schifrin began his career as a café pianist before returning to Argentina where he orchestrated compositions as a director of a TV station's jazz orchestra featuring the best jazz and studio musicians in Argentina. In 1956, Schifrin's orchestra was invited to perform at a reception for Dizzy Gillespie while the legendary bandleader visited Argentina on a State Department tour. Upon later moving to New York City around 1960, Schifrin and Dizzy's paths would once again cross and forever change the emerging pianist's life.

Dizzy encouraged Schifrin to compose a piece for his big band and "Gillespiana Suite" was born. Dizzy quickly phoned Norman Granz at Verve and one month later they were in the studio recording it, with Schifrin on piano. He subsequently went on tour with Dizzy's band for two years where he would write additional extended pieces, including "Tunisian Fantasy" and "The New Continent."

The "Gillespiana Suite" pays homage to Dizzy's multitude of talents. Each movement reflects an aspect of Dizzy, ranging from the melancholy blues to the vigorous toccata, as well as allusions to Dizzy's African forebears to his interest in Latin American music. Schifrin took on the 18th century "suite" form, specifically in another 18th century manifestation, namely the Concerto grosso format, as exemplified by a quintet within a large accompaniment of a brass and percussion group. Schifrin would further replace the five saxophones of a regular big band with four French horns and a tuba, along with the usual four trumpets and four trombones.

Sofia Rei's contribution features not only her own compositions but also contemporary takes on the work of legendary Argentinian folkloric artists Leda Valladares and Cuchi Leguizamon, all performed in the distinctive style of O'Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. Leda Valladares (1919-2012) was an Argentinian singer, writer, philosopher, composer, poet, music collector and researcher. She dedicated most of her life to record and compile ancestral folkloric songs from the northwest of Argentina, a rich cultural heritage which was about to be lost forever. Her work helped rediscover what is known as "canto con caja" and served as a bridge between generations of musicians and audiences.

The repertoire for Jazz Across The Americas: Argentina -- A Tribute To Lalo Schifrin includes "Llegará, Llegará, Llegará" (Emilio Solla), "Gillespiana: Prelude" (Schifrin), "Gillespiana: Blues" (Schifrin), "Gillespiana: Panamericana" (Schifrin), "Gillespiana: Africana" (Schifrin), "Gillespiana: Tocata" (Schifrin), "Minotauro" (Guillermo Klein), "El Silbador" (Cuchi Leguizamon), "Vidalas Medley" (Leda Valladares, Arr. Juan Andres Ospina), "Lalo Cura La Locura" (Gabriel Senanes), "Aquellos Tangos Camperos" (Horacio Salgan, Arr. Pedro Giraudo), "Carnaval Potrero" (Richard Nant), "Todo Lo Perdido Reaparece" (Sofia Rei/Jorge Roeder, Arr. Giraudo), "Tanguajira" (Pablo Aslan, Arr. Senanes), and "Tanguango" (Astor Piazzolla).

Tickets range from $25 - $45 and can be purchased at

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