Photo: Adam O’Farrill | © Joyce Jones/ Suga Bowl Photography. Some Rights Reserved. Creative Commons CC-NC-BY-ND. Used with Permission.
The next show will air on Sunday, June 10, 2018 from 11:00 PM – 1:00 AM Monday Eastern Standard Time on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This broadcast presents an interview with trumpeter and composer Adam O’Farrill.
In June 2018, O’Farrill released his second album, El Maquech with his band Stranger Days, tapping into an eclectic range of influences, including traditional Mexican music, and covers of Gabriel Garzon-Montano and Irving Berlin.
Adam O’Farrill was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Born to a deep musical legacy – his grandfather, the legendary Afro-Cuban composer/arranger, Chico O’Farrill, his father, the GRAMMY award-winning pianist/composer/activist Arturo O’Farrill, and his mother, pianist and educator Alison Deane – O’Farrill has been surrounded by music since he was very young. He began studying piano at age 6, and trumpet at age 8, while starting to compose around the same time. Since then, O’Farrill has made numerous artistic accomplishments.
With his brother, Zack, a drummer/composer, they released two well-received albums under the O’Farrill Brothers Band: Giant Peach (2011) and Sensing Flight (2013), both on ZOHO Music. They primarily featured Adam’s original compositions. In 2016, he released his first album under his own name, called Stranger Days (Sunnyside Records), which features Zack on drums, Chad Lefkowitz-Brown on tenor sax, and Walter Stinson on bass. The album has been critically acclaimed with Nate Chinen of the NY Times writing “Marshaling a sharp band of his peers — Chad Lefkowitz-Brown on tenor saxophone; Walter Stinson on bass; and Zack O’Farrill, his older brother, on drums — Mr. O’Farrill establishes both a firm identity and a willful urge to stretch and adapt.”
In 2015, O’Farrill was featured on two of the year’s most acclaimed albums. He was featured on Rudresh Mahthappa’s Bird Calls, which won the Downbeat Critics Poll for Best Jazz Album, and was named one of the Best Jazz Albums of 2015 by NPR, New York Times, Observer Chicago Tribune, and more. Later that year, O’Farrill was featured (along with Mahanthappa, and Zack O’Farrill) on Arturo O’Farrill’s Cuba: The Conversation Continues, was was nominated for the GRAMMY Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album, and won the Latin GRAMMY Award for Best Latin Jazz Album. In 2016, Adam was featured on several new releases. He was featured on Stephan Crump’s Rhombal, along with Ellery Eskelin and Tyshawn Sorey, which also released to critical acclaim. O’Farrill was also featured on Evergreen (Canceled World), from rising composer-pianist Gabriel Zucker and his large ensemble, The Delegation, as well as Kadawa, the debut album from the Israel-born experimental trio of the same name, and New Helsinki, the debut album from Finnish guitarist Olli Hirvonen. In addition to these, Adam has also performed with established artists such as Vijay Iyer, Mulatu Astatke, Steve Lehman, Christian McBride, Jason Lindner, in addition to rising artists such as Samora Pinderhughes, Onyx Collective, Maria Grand, JIL, and more.
O’Farrill has also been developing his voice as a composer, since a young age. He recently received the 2016-2017 The Jazz Gallery Residency Commission, for which he will premiered a new work, “I’d Like My Life Back,” for voice and septet, in April 2017. He was commissioned by YoungArts to collaborate with actress Devyn Tyler, and filmmakers Dan Frantz and Andy Koeger on a short film called Gold, which Adam scored. The Baltimore-based chamber duo, The Witches, commissioned O’Farrill to write a piece for their project, Behind the Curtain, celebrating femininity and female leaders of the world today. He wrote a piece called “Overcoming,” dedicated to Lizzie Velasquez, the motivational speaker who was born with a disease that prevents her from accumulating body fat.
Recently, O’Farrill completed his Bachelor’s Degree at the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Laurie Frink, Cecil Bridgewater, Reiko Fueting, Thomas Smith, Greg Gisbert, and Tony Kadleck.
(Bio adapted from Adam O’Farrill’s website.)
This program is hosted, engineered, produced, and edited by Joyce Jones. Listen for our On the Bandstand segment with NYC metro area appearances of Suga’ guests at the end of the first hour with Associate Producer Hank Williams.
O’Farrill’s El Maquech released on June 1 on Biophilia Records. There will be a release performance at 55 Bar on Wednesday, June 13, at 10:00 p.m.
Watch O’Farrill play “Stranger Days” in this live clip.
Watch O’Farrill perform “Gravity” with Olli Hirvonen’s New Helsinki ensemble in this live clip.
Hank Williams is assistant producer for Suga’ in My Bowl and produces the weekly “On the Bandstand” segment as well as running the show’s website and blog, where he has reviewed several jazz festivals. His writing has also appeared in Left Turn magazine and American Music Review. He teaches at Lehman College in the City University of New York system.