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Arturo O’Farrill – Family, Jazz and the Music of Cuba, Revisited

arturo-o-farrillBorn in Mexico City and raised in New York City, pianist, composer and educator Arturo O’Farrill grew up close to Cuba and its culture.
Geography and physical distances can be just an illusion. After all, O’Farrill is the son of the great, late Cuban composer and arranger Arturo “Chico” O’Farrill and is himself a leading figure in Afro-Cuban jazz.
Over the past two decades, professional and family reasons have taken O’Farrill to his father’s homeland.




“Take Five ” — With a Pakistani Swing

Globalization has produced many stories — not all inspiring. But having a Pakistani ensemble become a worldwide sensation by playing Paul Desmond’s immortal “Take Five,” which pianist Dave Brubeck turned into a hit nearly 50 years ago, has to be one of the most delightful — and improbable.

The 10-piece Sachal Ensemble, a group from Lahore, Pakistan, became an unlikely global sensation when the video of their performance of “Take Five,” a peculiar, swinging blend of South Asian classical music and jazz, got a million hits on YouTube. In a letter quoted in a story in Esquire Middle East, Brubeck, who got to hear it before his passing in 2012, wrote to producer Izzat Majeed: “This is the most interesting and different recording of ‘Take Five’ that I’ve ever heard… ”

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Honoring Paco De Lucía by keeping his sound alive

Few artists have had the impact in their disciplines that guitarist Paco De Lucía had in flamenco. There is a before-and-after De Lucía in flamenco. He expanded the harmonic vocabulary and guitar techniques, incorporated instruments from outside the tradition, and had a curiosity that led him to collaborations with artists as disparate as jazz guitarist John McLaughlin and Brazilian pop star Djavan and also opened new vistas to flamenco artists.

Flamenco Legends: The Paco De Lucía Project, reunites his last septet — Antonio Sánchez, De Lucía’s nephew, guitar; Alain Pérez, bass; Israel Suárez “Piraña,” percussion; Antonio Serrano, harmonica; David de Jacoba, vocals; and Farru, dance — in  a “tribute to a genius, a partner in adventures who we all loved very much and we miss.”

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Celebrando a Paco De Lucía y su música

Pocos artistas han tenido el impacto en sus disciplinas como el guitarrista Paco De Lucía tuvo en flamenco. En este género, hay un antes y después de De Lucía. Expandió el vocabulario armónico y el rol de la guitarra, incorporó instrumentos de otros géneros y tradiciones; tuvo una curiosidad que lo llevó a colaborar con artistas tan dispares como el guitarrista de jazz John McLaughlin y el cantautor pop brasileño Djavan y con esto abrió panoramas impensados a los artistas de flamenco.

Las Leyendas del Flamenco: El Proyecto Paco De Lucía incluye a miembros del último grupo de DeLucía,  Antonio Sánchez, sobrino de De Lucía, en guitarra; Alain Pérez, bajo; Israel Suárez “Piraña”, percusión; Antonio Serrano, armónica; David de Jacoba, cante y Farru, baile. El ensamble se ha reunido, en un “tributo a un genio”, dice Antonio. “A un maestro, a un compañero de aventuras que todos queríamos mucho y extrañamos”.

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A Passion For the Piano, a Story of Perseverance and Chucho Valdés in a New Cuban Film


Esteban ChuchoArtburst Miami, June, 2017

Esteban, the debut of Cuban director Jonal Cosculluela being premiered at The Miami Light Project tells the story of a 9 year old, living in Havana with his mother, who’s raising him as a single parent, and his perseverance following his dream of becoming a musician. The challenges seem overwhelming. Esteban and his mother struggle to make ends meet – his estranged father offers little, and unreliable, support; Esteban has to help out selling their home-made beauty products door to door; his school snack is a bun and a bottle of water with sugar. But the heart wants what the heart wants, and Esteban falls in love with the piano.



Chano Dominguez on an off night offers an unexpected treat

Chano Dominguez
VALENCIA. Pianist Chano Dominguez is in Valencia rehearsing a classical piece he wrote for brass quintet and piano for a July concert.(He’s working with Spanish Brass) But Chano, who has been living in the US for the past three years, decided he didn’t want to hang out at his hotel in the evenings so, without fanfare, he scheduled two nights of solo piano at Cafe Mercedes, an intimate club that feels like a living room. “I just want to play and see some friends,” he said in a sidewalk conversation before the show.

Josemi Carmona and a world of music beyond flamenco


Guitarist, composer and producer Josemi Carmona embodies the spirit of Nuevo Flamenco. Rooted firmly in tradition, he has proven a restless, curious artist, ignoring the boundaries of genres and collaborating with musicians as disparate as jazz bassist Dave Holland, British Indian musician Nitin Sawhney, Norwegian pianist Bugge Wesseltoft and pop superstar Alejandro Sanz. He was 14 when he joined Ketama, the enormously successful flamenco pop group co-founded by his brother, Juan Carmona. And if an endorsement was still necessary, flamenco virtuoso Paco de Lucía called him “one of the guitarists who will define guitar playing in the 21st century.”



Finding the symphony in the sound of a city


Knight Foundation blog, January, 2017

Think of the city as an orchestra – a rhythm section of cars and buses; the brass sounds of a factory; the emotions played out by a string section, told in the sounds of water; a choir of voices, perhaps in many different languages, all at once, telling stories.

In Miami, we live surrounded by those sounds. Project 305, an ambitious multimedia piece involving the New World SymphonyMIT Media Lab and Knight Foundation, will translate these kinds of Miami sounds and sights into a symphonic work. Miami residents will be able to submit both audio and video clips through a new mobile and web app now available. The clips will become the source material for both the musical piece and the accompanying video.