Arturo O’Farrill Brings His Afro-Cuban Jazz to Havana

Arturo O'Farrill Cuba Jazz

For years, Afro Latin Jazz artist Arturo O’Farrill was unable to bring his music to his father’s native country of Cuba, due to the restrictive embargo imposed by the United States after Fidel Castro’s communist revolution of the 1960s.

The past few years, however, have seen change. Washington recently eased policies regarding travel in Cuba and O’Farrill has been able to make several trips to the island, bringing not only his Grammy-award winning compositions, but also fellow musicians, like his sons Zachary and Adam. Correspondent Michael Voss joined the O’Farrill family and their bandmates in Cuba before the International Jazz Festival in Havana. There, they headlined as the makeshift group, Three Generations, and played with some of Cuba’s top talent.

The two generations of O’Farrill’s honored a third generation of their family by paying tribute to Arturo’s father, Chico. Chico, a composer, conductor and trumpet player, made his name by collaborating with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and blending Afro-Latin rhythms with American Jazz. In fact he brought Cuban jazz to the United States. The Cuban native never returned to his home country after moving to the US, something Arturo says he deeply regretted later in life.

Arturo, his sons and their fellow musicians return to Cuba with the goal of finishing Chico’s journey, and to bridge musical gaps created by previous political limitations through this “harmonious” cultural exchange.

Follow Michael Voss on Twitter @mvosscuba

All segments of Americas Now from March 9, 2014.