Arutro O'Farrill and Arturo Sandoval at BRIC Arts Media's Celebrate Brooklyn

Slope jazz musician takes stage with Cuban trumpet legend

The Brooklyn Paper
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You can never see too much Art.

Pianist Arturo O’Farrill, and his Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, will burn it up on the Prospect Park band shell stage with Cuban trumpet virtuoso Arturo Sandoval on July 21.

And when two Arts take the stage — one a Cuban star, the other a Park Slope legend — it makes for a memorable if unpredictable show.

“Anything could happen. It could become a huge rhumba jazz descarga,” declared O’Farrill, who is a Brooklyn resident of over three decades.

For the musician, playing Celebrate Brooklyn will be a dream come true.

“I am really, really, really excited to be able to perform in my hometown, for my people,” said O’Farrill, who will be teaching at Brooklyn College in the fall. “I live just a couple blocks from the park, and being so close to Celebrate Brooklyn and not being able to perform there was always heartbreak­ing.”

But everything came together for O’Farrill this year, giving him a chance to put his 18 piece band on display in the BRIC Arts Media organized concert he called perfect for the blistering rhythms of mambo- and salsa-infused jazz — straight from the heart of Havana.

“It’s a great space, it’s a great stage, and it’s an environment where people are encouraged to express themselves,” O’Farrill said.

And expressing yourself is what O’Farrill’s art is all about, said the man who’s played jazz festivals across the globe — which Brooklyn audiences understand better than any other.

“It’s not music you just listen to in a cerebral way. You have to move,” O’Farrill said. “A lot of times, we play for people and they just sit there. But in Brooklyn people are more diverse and active.”

O’Farrill said it’s still undecided if his band will take the stage simultaneously and jam with Sandoval — a man O’Farrill has known since childhood, as a friend and colleague of his bandleader father Chico O’Farrill, and whom both O’Farrills have recorded with in the past. But either way, O’Farrill promises music perfect for a steamy July evening: full of life and pure energy.

“Our music is at celebration, a celebration of what happens when you defy socio-elitist pandering and let the pueblo into your heart and embrace music that is intelligent and passionate,” O’Farrill said.

Arturo Sandoval and Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra at Prospect Park band shell [Ninth Street and Prospect Park West in Park Slope. (718) 683-5600.] July 21, 7:30 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at (718) 260–4507 or e-mail him at Follow him on Twitter at

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