A Night in Tunisia
Arturo O'Farrill is the son of Cuban composer and bandleader Chico O'Farrill, in whose Afro-Cuban Jazz Big Band he serves as pianist and musical director. The 10 tunes O'Farrill essays here, with stunning support from bassist George Mraz and drummer Steve Berrios, demonstrate the truth of his statement that "music is a commitment to putting forth an honest and integral energy."
Two tunes brim with Cuban fire-the turbocharged "On Green Dolphin Street," whose intriguing intro sets the stage for a blazing solo, and the equally incendiary "I'll Remember April." O'Farrill has chosen more relaxed tempos for most of the rest, which include three by Jobim, "The Girl From Ipanema," "Wave" and the buoyant, lesser known "Once I Loved."
"Poinciana," a massive hit for Ahmad Jamal some 40 years ago, still works its magic on this version. "Black Orpheus" is ruminative, rather than joyous, while "The Shadow of Your Smile," the only non-Latin piece, shows another side of this talented musician. The title track is right up everyone's alley and, as the opener, jump-starts the whole project.
Throughout the disc Mraz (who was equally supportive on O'Farrill's 1999 Milestone release, Blood Lines) and Berrios (a long-time member of Jerry Gonzalez's Fort Apache Band and who also plays in Chico's big band) provide just what's needed when it's wanted.