July 12, 2024


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Arturo O’Farrill & Chucho Valdés – Familia Tribute To Bebo + Chico 2017: Video

Pianists Arturo O’Farrill and Chucho Valdés celebrate their rich musical family legacies on ambitious, gloriously realized Familia: Tribute to Bebo & Chico. Although they grew up on separate shores, O’Farrill in New York (via Mexico) and Valdés in Cuba, they both came of age in musical households as the sons of legendary Cuban bandleaders Chico O’Farrill and Bebo Valdés.

Along with icons like Chano Pozo, Machito, and Dizzy Gillespie, the elder O’Farrill and Valdés were giants of Afro-Cuban music. Similarly, just as their fathers helped further the dissemination and creative development of Afro-Cuban and Latin jazz, Arturo and Chucho are innovators in their own rights, with decades of experience playing both traditional Cuban music and ultra-modern jazz.

Impressively, they bring all that history to bear on Familia, a two-disc collection featuring songs composed by their fathers, as well as new compositions inspired by their lives growing up in such deeply artistic families. Joining them here are their equally talented children, including trumpeter Adam O’Farrill, drummer Zack O’Farrill, pianist Leyanis Valdés, and drummer Jessie Valdés. Also on board are the members of Arturo O’Farrill’s own Grammy Award-winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra.

Disc one primarily features the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra and finds O’Farrill and Valdés taking a more traditional, if still dazzling approach on cuts like the merengue-infused “BeboChicoChuchoTuro” and a lushly orchestrated reading of Bebo Valdés’ “Ecuacion.” Also compelling are the pianist’s solo turns on Chico O’Farrill’s “Pianitis” and O’Farrill’s homage to his parents, “Fathers, Mothers, Sons, Daughters,” which features several sparkling cadenzas from pianist Leyanis Valdés.

Disc two showcases the smaller, post-bop-leaning Third Generations Ensemble, in which they explore the more progressive edges of Afro-Cuban jazz. Here, trumpeter (and third place finisher at the 2014 Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition) Adam O’Farrill shines, revealing his knack for harmonically adventurous improvisation à la Woody Shaw on the kinetic and fractured “Run and Jump.” Similarly, the trumpeter breathes new life into Chico O’Farrill’s “Pura Emocion” framed by his father’s taut, angular arrangement. Elsewhere, Zack O’Farrill contributes the expansive “Gonki Gonki” (his mother’s way of describing the sound of rhythmic piano montunos) and Chucho offers the lushly virtuosic solo track “Para Chico.”

The sheer amount of virtuosity on display on Familia: Tribute to Bebo & Chico might well be overwhelming if the music itself weren’t so warmly and beautifully rendered.

Disc 1 (54:49):
01. BeboChico (8:56)
02. Three Revolutions (7:52)
03. Ecuación (9:34)
04. Tema de Bebo (11:59)
05. Pianitis (6:10)
06. Father, Mothers, Sons, Daughters (10:18)

Disc 2 (39:29):
01. Run And Jump (7:21)
02. Recuerdo (7:41)
03. Gonki Gonki (5:45)
04. Pura Emoción (3:50)
05. Para Chico (2:32)
06. Con Poco Coco (8:07)
07. Raja Ram (4:13)

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