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Chico O’Farrill Dies at 79

Afro-Cuban jazz legend, arranger, composer and trumpeter Chico O’Farrill died Wed. June 27 in Manhattan. He was 79. Born Oct. 28, 1921, in Havana, O’Farrill moved to New York in 1948, where he wrote for Benny Goodman (“Undercurrent Blues”), Stan Kenton (“Cuban Episode”) and Machito (“Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite”). He led his own bands in New York in the ’50s, moving to Mexico City late in the decade. In 1965 O’Farrill returned to New York City, arranging music for television, Count Basie, Machito, Kenton, Gato Barbieri and Dizzy Gillespie, but he didn’t record an album under his own name between 1966 and 1994. He cut Pure Emotion (Milestone) in 1995, which helped spark a career renaissance. O’Farrill is survived by his wife, Lupe, his son, Arturo, and his daughter, Georgina.

Originally Published