An veteran figure of the Afro-Cuban jazz movement, Arturo O'Farrill was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City. The son of big band leader Chico O'Farrill, Arturo was educated at the Manhattan School of Music and the Brooklyn College Conservatory. From 1979-1983, he played piano with the Carla Bley Big Band; O'Farrill then went on to develop his skills as a solo performer with a wide spectrum of artists, including Wynton Marsalis, Dizzy Gillespie, Steve Turre, Papo Vazquez, the Fort Apache Band, Lester Bowie, and Harry Belafonte.
In 1995, O'Farrill agreed to direct Chico O'Farrill's Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra, which has been in residence at New York City's Birdland nightclub since the late '90s; the band also performed throughout the world. As a bandleader in his own right, O'Farrill recorded material for such labels as Milestone Records, 32 Jazz, and M & I. Those recordings (Blood Lines, A Night in Tunisia, and Cumana) provide listeners with an overview of the musical environment in which O'Farrill was raised. He also made appearances on numerous records, including Habanera with Alberto Shiroma and the soundtrack to the critically acclaimed movie Calle 54. Arturo was a special guest soloist at three landmark Jazz at Lincoln Center concerts -- Afro-Cuban Jazz: Chico O'Farrill's Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, November 1995; Con Alma: The Latin Tinge in Big Band Jazz, September 1998; and the 2001 Jazz at Lincoln Center Gala: The Spirit of Tito Puente, November 2001. In March 2002, he was also the featured artist in Jazz at Lincoln Center's Jazz in the Schools Tour, when he led a Latin jazz quintet for 24 educational performances that reached over 5,000 people throughout N.Y.C. metropolitan schools. He again participated in this educational tour in 2002 and continued to direct the orchestra that preserved much of his father's music. 2008 saw him partnering with vocalist Claudia Acuña for In These Shoes, a stylish offering of jazz and Latin music. ~ Paula Edelstein, Rovi