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Arturo O’Farrill’s The Offense of the Drum surges with harmonic and rhythmic energy from the get-go. The pianist/composer and his big band, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, are joined by various guest artists on this expansive album, where Offense has room for Japanese drums, accordion, djembe, and harp. “Cuarto de Colores” weaves together Cuban, Brazilian, and Colombian rhythms and features the excellent Colombian harpist Edmar Castaneda, who spins out dazzling runs backed by a horn arrangement that’s by turns muscular and smooth. The spoken word of Christopher “Chilo” Cajigas is spotlighted on “They Came,” a proud take on Puerto Rican history and migration to the United States. It’s a powerhouse piece that integrates words and music at an extraordinarily high level. (The track, written and conducted by Jason Lindner, includes DJ Logic on turntables.) Pianist Vijay Iyer wrote and played on “The Mad Hatter,” a composition full of tricky lines and rhythms. The two-movement title cut takes listeners on a journey. Artful rigidity morphs into a grand layered flow over the course of this impressive work.


Born: June 22, 1960 in Havana, Cuba

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

A veteran figure of the Afro-Cuban jazz movement, Arturo O'Farrill was born in Cuba 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,...
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The Offense of the Drum, Arturo O'Farrill
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