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The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance Celebrates 10th Anniversary
(Published: September 28, 2011)

The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance announces that it will celebrate the 10th Anniversary season of the GRAMMY® Award-winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra (ALJO), directed by Arturo O'Farrill, in 2011/12 at Symphony Space on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

To commemorate the 10th Anniversary, the ALJO will present three landmark programs to celebrate its first decade of existence. The announcement of the ALJO's 10th Anniversary also comes at the beginning of a new residency at Birdland - New York's famed jazz club - this September, with performances every Sunday evening (subject to change). The residency marks a new chapter at Birdland for the O'Farrill family. The Chico O'Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra - under the direction of Arturo O'Farrill since his father's passing in 2001 - recently concluded a 15-year residency at the club in June 2011.

Additionally, the anniversary coincides with milestones for various Afro Latin Jazz Alliance (ALJA) educational programs.

O'Farrill exclaims, "Ten years of existence is a milestone for the ALJO, not so much because we survived, but because we've created a new entry point into the cultural conversation. There are alternatives in this music. Our embrace of a bigger picture in jazz has welcomed many more people into the fold because of this approach. This season we celebrate the finest moments in our history, which have consistently reflected a much larger picture of big band Afro Latin jazz than previously existed."

10th Anniversary Performances at Symphony Space:

October 14 & 15 - "Andy & Jerry's: A Tribute to the González Brothers" - 8pm

The Orchestra will pay tribute to Andy and Jerry González, founders of the pioneering, Bronx-born Fort Apache Band and arguably the most important siblings in Latin jazz. The ALJO will cast the brothers in a retrospective of their greatest moments and will premiere O'Farrill's Ft. Apache Concerto.

January 20 & 21 - "The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra Turns 10" - 8pm

The ALJO will hold a special 10th birthday bash, performing an assortment of Afro Latin jazz classics as well as its latest commissions from composers such as Miguel Zenón, Dafnis Prieto, Vijay Iyer, and others. The January 20 performance will be a benefit concert for the nonprofit Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, featuring a one-night only lineup of some of the world's leading musicians, including Edmar Castaneda, Donald Harrison, and others to be confirmed.

May 11 & 12 - "Música Nueva 5: Big Band Poetry Slam & Beyond" - 8pm

The Orchestra will perform its fifth annual new music concert, Música Nueva, celebrating the spoken word tradition with a big band poetry slam curated by poet and musician Angel R. Rodríguez, Sr. and highlighting the work of the Nuyorican Poets Café. Guest DJs, MCs, spoken word artists, instrumentalists, and dancers will mix the classic sound of boogaloo, mambo, and salsa with hip-hop, acid jazz, and alternative improvisation.

For more information, visit: http://www.symphonyspace.org

The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance's Commitment To Education and Community Outreach:

As the ALJO celebrates its 10th Anniversary season, the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance's educational and community outreach programs have flourished. Since 2007, after entering into a major educational collaboration with FEGS, a non-profit that provides educational and other social services in low-income neighborhoods across New York City, the Alliance has created a robust educational program for young performers.

Programs include: the Afro Latin Jazz Academy of Music, the Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats, The Chico O'Farrill Scholarship, the Chico O'Farrill School of Jazz, an Afro Latin Jazz summer camp (to premiere summer 2012), as well as master classes, workshops, and residencies.

In conjunction with the ALJO's 10th Anniversary, several of these educational programs are celebrating milestones of their own:

Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats (FALJC)

The ALJA has officially launched the second academic year of its New York City all-star youth Afro Latin jazz big band at Fat Cat, the distinguished Greenwich Village jazz club. Under O'Farrill's direction, the ensemble performs at prominent jazz venues around New York City and includes some of the five boroughs' finest young musicians. According to Fat Cat: "The second year promises to build on the achievements of the first, due to the continued dedication of the incomparable maestro Arturo O'Farrill. We will continue to offer many great performance, community, and educational opportunities to those studious young musicians who will commit to weekly rehearsals under the guidance of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance. We are thrilled to be a part of this mission."

Former Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cat Jacob Ertel, now a freshmen at Oberlin Conservatory, had this to say about the program: "The instruction and feedback I received throughout my time with the FALJC completely changed my conception of what it means to play music in a group setting. I strongly encourage anyone willing to dedicate their Sunday afternoons to becoming a better musician to seek out this amazing chance to study with one of the modern masters of jazz."

Afro Latin Jazz Academy of Music ALJAM)

2011/12 marks the fifth academic year of the ALJAM, an in-school residency program dedicated to providing instrument and ensemble instruction to low-income middle and high school students throughout New York City. ALJAM gives students the tools to develop their musicianship and express themselves through music. Members of the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra and other master teaching artists form a core teaching team that works with students twice a week for the full academic year. The program currently operates at the Urban Assembly Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists in the South Bronx and at the Business of Sports School in midtown Manhattan.

"The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance is thrilled to celebrate the ALJO's 10th anniversary," remarks Executive Director Eric Oberstein. "This season is as much a celebration of our ongoing education work as it is a celebration of our Orchestra. We are honored to teach this music in our school residencies and work with some of New York City's most talented young musicians in our Fat Cat ensemble. These programs illustrate the positive influence that Afro Latin jazz continues to have on new generations of musicians and appreciators."

About The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra:

Founded in 2002 by O'Farrill to perform the full repertory of big band Afro Latin jazz, and commission new works to advance this culturally rich genre, the ALJO was a resident orchestra at Jazz at Lincoln Center from 2002 to 2007. In 2007, the ALJO left Lincoln Center to pursue the twin goals of developing new audiences for big band Afro Latin jazz and of creating a robust educational program for young performers. O'Farrill founded the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance that same year to pursue both the performance and educational aspects of this uniquely pan-American art form.

The ALJO is entering its fifth season in residence at Symphony Space, and it continues to tour nationally and internationally to critical acclaim, performing over the past several years at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Boston Symphony Hall, the Newport Jazz Festival, The Joyce Theater (with Ballet Hispanico), Megaron Concert Hall (Athens, Greece), and the Taichung Jazz Festival (Taichung, Taiwan), among countless other venues. The ALJO received a GRAMMY® nomination for its 2005 album, Una Noche Inolvidable (Palmetto), and in 2009 earned a GRAMMY for Best Latin Jazz Album for its release Song for Chico (Zoho). The Orchestra released its newest album, 40 Acres and a Burro (Zoho), this past February.

About The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance:

Founded in 2007, the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance is dedicated to preserving the music and heritage of big band Latin Jazz, supporting its performance for new audiences, and educating young people in the understanding and performance of this important cultural treasure. The Alliance maintains a world-class collection of Latin jazz musical scores and recordings, provides institutional support for the GRAMMY® Award-winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, and provides education programs for young musicians and new audiences.

More Information: http://www.afrolatinjazz.org

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