Dreaming In Lions, Arturo O’Farrill
7-time GRAMMY Award-winning composer, bandleader, and pianist Arturo O’Farrill has released “Dreaming In Lions,” the title track of his forthcoming Blue Note debut …dreaming in lions… due out September 24. The album finds O’Farrill leading the colorful 10-piece assemblage The Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble thru a vibrant set that presents two multi-movement suites he conceived in collaboration with Malpaso Dance Company of Cuba: “Despedida,” a meditation on farewells, and “Dreaming in Lions,” inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. O’Farrill will be celebrating the album release with shows at Birdland in New York City from September 7-11.
“Dreaming in Lions” takes its name from an evocative image in Hemingway’s classic novella, one of O’Farrill’s favorite books from a young age. The protagonist, a Cuban fisherman, is deep in solitude on the ocean when he dreams of lions roaming an African beach coast. In his suite, O’Farrill “hears” the dream in a sense. And the title “Dreaming in Lions,” not of lions, is a way for players and listeners, he says, “to take part fully in the dream, being vested in that moment so it’s no longer a dream, it’s something you’re seeing. To me the book is about being still in the midst of great movement. It’s about being caught in the stillness of the moment while life swirls around you, which can be a kind of sacred holy experience.”
For O’Farrill, suites afford the space to convey extended narratives and cinematic ideas, a broadness of scope and intent that interests him most as a composer. Like his father, the legendary composer and bandleader Chico O’Farrill, he is committed to breaching musical boundaries in search of genuine, elevated expression. He has transmitted these values in turn to his sons, trumpeter Adam O’Farrill and drummer Zack O’Farrill, both of whom are featured on …dreaming in lions… Joining them are multi-percussionists Vince Cherico, Carlos “Carly” Maldonado and Victor Pablo Garcia Gaetan, bassist Bam Rodriguez, trombonist and euphonist Rafi Malkiel, flutist/saxophonist Alejandro Aviles, and guitarist Travis Reuter.