The Kennedy Center

Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra


There exists a large and unique repertoire within the big band genre that requires musicians who are knowledgeable about Latin rhythms, clave, and African-based percussion instruments, as well as modern jazz and swing.

Pianist, composer, and educator Arturo O'Farrill founded the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra (ALJO) in 2002 to perform compositions of masters such as Machito, Tito Puente, Chico O'Farrill, Astor Piazzola, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Hermeto Pascoal, and others, and to keep this culturally rich tradition alive by continuing to commission new works.

The ALJO performs nationally and internationally to critical acclaim and presents an annual New York performance season at Symphony Space on Manhattan's Upper West Side. In 2009 the orchestra won a Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album for its release Song for Chico.

O'Farrill founded the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance (ALJA) in 2007 to serve as a non-profit organization committed to advancing the performance and educational aspects of this uniquely pan-American art form.

"The ALJO," Wynton Marsalis noted, "is filling a great void on the New York cultural scene, performing the classics of the Afro-Latin jazz tradition, commissioning new works and playing dances. This band is firmly connected with the essence of Latin jazz. They have great soloists and first-class ensemble playing."

Last updated: July 2013
Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra