Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra: Fandango at the Wall (Resilience Music Alliance)

Review of double-CD set recorded live at the U.S.-Mexico border

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.
Fandango at the Wall
Cover of “Fandango at the Wall” by Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra

Even by the standards set by pianist, composer, bandleader, and social activist Arturo O’Farrill, Fandango at the Wall, a double-CD with the 18-piece Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, qualifies as personal. A New York City resident, the 58-year-old O’Farrill was born in Mexico City, and he’s been openly critical of President Trump’s attempts to build a wall along the United States’ southern border. Inspired by retired Mexican librarian Jorge Francisco Castillo’s annual Fandango Fronterizo Festiva—a burgeoning event that’s brought musicians to play through the meshed wall separating Tijuana from San Diego for a decade—O’Farrill upped the global ante for this recording by performing with his orchestra at several locations along the border, aided by various special guests, many of whom are from countries targeted by Trump’s travel ban.

O’Farrill’s verbal introduction includes thanks to Castillo and the people of the participating cities before the orchestra explodes into the spirited “Xalapa Bang!” with the help of Mexican-American drummer Antonio Sánchez. Mexican son jarocho musicians, Sánchez, and guest violinist Regina Carter then fuel the sashaying traditional Yucatan folksong “El Maquech.”

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published