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Multi-GRAMMY® Award-Winning Arturo O'Farrill and The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance to Present HOLIDAY DANCE CONCERT

Multi-GRAMMY® Award-Winning Arturo O'Farrill and The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance to Present HOLIDAY DANCE CONCERT

Multi-GRAMMY® Award-winning composer/pianist/educator Arturo O'Farrill and the non-profit The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance (ALJA) announce a special Holiday Dance Concert featuring the 18-piece Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra (ALJO) performing riveting compositions from its acclaimed repertoire at BRIC House on Thursday, December 5, 2019. The Holiday Dance Concert raises funds for the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance's Music Education Programs. The evening will be a retrospective of Latin Jazz Big Band music with an emphasis on Mambo. Arturo O'Farrill and ALJO will perform with special guest vocalists Sammy Gonzalez Jr. and Ivan Llanes. The Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats Youth Big Band will open the show.

"The Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats impress me every weekend with their hard work in learning this incredible music on a high level," says Zack O'Farrill (Director of Education Programs, Afro Latin Jazz Alliance). "It is not lost on them that there are very few other high school students in the world with the opportunity to learn this repertoire and even connect with some of its most distinguished practitioners. They are very excited to show us how hard they've been working as they share the stage with and learn from the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra."

The Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats is the pre-professional big-band youth orchestra of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance. Founded in 2010 in the New York City area, this youth-based big band orchestra includes some of the city's finest young musicians who hail from all over the five boroughs. Under the direction of ALJA's Director of Education Programs Zack O'Farrill along with trumpeter Jim Seeley and bassist Bam Bam Rodriguez, they perform works from the Latin jazz repertory as well as standard jazz pieces at venerable venues across New York City, including the Greenwich Village jazz club Fat Cats, Brooklyn Museum, Birdland, and others.

For additional information regarding Arturo O'Farrill and the special guests performing at the Holiday Dance Concert, please see the artists' bios below.

Sammy Gonzalez Jr.
For much of his career, Sammy Gonzalez Jr. has been the lead singer for projects led by Tito Rodriguez Jr., Johnny Ray, and Louie Ramirez. Sammy Gonzalez Jr. has performed for capacity crowds at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, The Concord Jazz Festival in San Francisco, the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, among many other venues. Having performed all around the world from Morocco to Moscow, Sammy Gonzalez Jr. is also a premier bandleader in his own right. He leads a 12-piece band with many of the top musicians that he has performed with across the globe. His music is that of the hottest Salsa songs of his 15 musical recordings with the various artists he has recorded with. He runs a dancer's band, it's explosive to say the least.

Sammy Gonzalez Jr. is a frequent collaborator of the ALJO and has been one of Arturo O'Farrill's top choices when the orchestra is featuring a dance/mambo repertoire.

Ivan Llanes
Drummer/percussionist/singer/instructor/composer Ivan Llanes is a more recent collaborator for Arturo O'Farrill and ALJO. Llanes has performed with the ALJO as a vocalist for their recent Valentine Mambo Party at NYU Abu Dhabi in February 2019. Llanes was born in Camaguey, Cuba and from an early age he began his musicial studies at the Vocational School of Art in his province of Luis Casas Romero. At age 13, he joined the orchestra "Estrellitas de la Charanga" and participated in the "National Festival of Charanga Orchestra" in Palma Soriano. Llanes continued his studies at the Jose White Conservatory, were he received numerous awards as part of the competitive educational programs.

In 2010, Llanes joined the GRAMMY Award-nominated Orlando " Maraca" Valle in his orchestra, "Otra Vision." Under the musical direction of world-flute virtuoso Maraca, Ivan began combining the use of the drum-set and timbal. He began rapidly developing the skills necessary to master Maraca's complicated compositions and style of play.


Featuring Arturo O'Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra
With Special Guests Sammy Gonzalez Jr., Ivan Llanes, and The Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats Youth Big Band

Thursday, December 5, 2019
BRIC House
647 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217
Performance: 7:30 pm
Tickets: $25 - $35,

GRAMMY Award winning pianist, composer and educator Arturo O'Farrill -- leader of the "first family of Afro-Cuban Jazz" (New York Times) -- was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City. Son of the late, great composer Chico O'Farrill, Arturo was educated at Manhattan School of Music and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. He played piano in Carla Bley's Big Band from 1979 through 1983 and earned a reputation as a soloist in groups led by Dizzy Gillespie, Steve Turre, Freddy Cole, Lester Bowie, Wynton Marsalis and Harry Belafonte. In 2002, he established the GRAMMY® winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra in order to bring the vital musical traditions of Afro Latin jazz to a wider general audience, and to greatly expand the contemporary Latin jazz big band repertoire through commissions to artists across a wide stylistic and geographic range.

Following his 2009 GRAMMY® Award for "Best Latin Jazz Album" for the Orchestra's debut recording, Song for Chico (ZOHO), O'Farrill has received numerous GRAMMY® wins for The Offense of the Drum ("Best Latin Jazz Album"), Cuba: The Conversation Continues ("The Afro Latin Jazz Suite," "Best Instrumental Composition"), and his album with Chucho Valdés, Familia: Tribute to Bebo & Chico, won a GRAMMY® Award in the "Best Instrumental Composition" category for his composition, "Three Revolutions." Cuba: The Conversation Continues won a 2016 Latin GRAMMY® for "Best Latin Jazz Album." In September 2018, O'Farrill released his latest album, Fandango at the Wall: A Soundtrack for the United States, Mexico, and Beyond, featuring the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, Antonio Sanchez, Regina Carter, Akua Dixon, Mandy Gonzalez, Patricio Hidalgo, Rahim AlHaj, and Ramón Gutiérrez Hernández.

Arturo O'Farrill is on the faculty of The Manhattan School of Music and The New School. In 2019, O'Farrill was appointed a Professor at The Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA, in the Global Jazz Studies department. O'Farrill is a Steinway Artist.

The non-profit Afro Latin Jazz Alliance (ALJA) was established by Arturo O'Farrill in 2007 to promote Afro Latin Jazz through a comprehensive array of performance and education programs. ALJA produces the Orchestra's annual performance season at Symphony Space and other venues in NYC, and maintains a weekly engagement for the Orchestra at the famed jazz club Birdland. The Alliance also maintains a world-class collection of Latin jazz musical scores and recordings. ALJA's education programs include the Afro Latin Jazz Academy of Music (ALJAM); an in-school residency program serving public schools citywide with instrumental and ensemble instruction, and the pre-professional youth orchestra, the Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats, which prepares the next generation of musicians. The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance maintains an administrative office inside the historic Minisink Townhouse in Central Harlem. For more information on the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, please visit

An integral part of Hostos Community College/ CUNY since 1982, the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture, which includes two state-of- the-art theaters of 900 and 360 seats each, a black box experimental theater, and a museum-grade art gallery, is a resource for students and faculty in addition to serving the cultural needs of South Bronx residents and neighboring communities. Recognized nationally as a leader in Latin and African-based programming, the Hostos Center creates performing and visual arts forums in which the diverse cultural heritages of its audiences are celebrated and cultivated. In meeting that objective, the Center is dedicated to the development of emerging artists and the creation of new work.

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