A Special Xmas Eve Concert from Arturo O’Farrill

Arturo O’Farrill (Photo via Bklyner)

For a special free Christmas Eve concert,  Arturo O’Farrill is bringing his award-winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra to All Saints’ Church in Park Slope. Among other pieces, O’Farrill will present his father’s rarely performed seasonal composition “Oro, Incienso y Mirra” (“Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh”), reports Chris Farrell in Bklyner.

The composition, reports Bklyner, was commissioned more than 40 years ago for a holiday performance featuring Dizzy Gillespie and Machito at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

A teenager at the time his father, Chico O’Farrill created the work, O’Farrill has fond memories of its inception. “I was playing, already, somewhat professionally,” he said. “I was hanging out watching my father record this masterpiece, and there was a synthesizer part that needed somebody to play it. Since I was there, my father said, ‘Why don’t you play it?’ That’s the first high-level recording that I’m on.”

Memories of his father helped O’Farrill choose the piece for a celebration of the church’s 150th year. “I have Chico’s handwritten score. I really think it’s one of his greatest pieces,” he said, “and I think it’s really appropriate that it should be a gift to the people of Park Slope and All Saints’, because it does represent a musical picture of the three kings and the gifts that they brought.”

O’Farrill described “Oro, Incienso y Mirra” this way:

“It’s avant-garde classical music meets mambo with jazz soul,” O’Farrill said. “It’s an interesting piece because it involves a lot of very atonal writing and a lot of very Afro-Cuban rhythms, and the heart of it is, of course, jazz improvisation. I would just describe it as one of the most complete pieces of music that you could envision. Africa meets Asia meets the New World meets Europe.”

Go to Bklyner to read what the bandleader said was special about All Saints’ Church, and why he’s giving this “gift of love” to the church.

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