September 19-29, 2007

Sunday, September 23,2007

Featuring: The Chico O'Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, directed by Arturo O'Farrill, George Gee's Jump, Jivin' Wailers,
Shamarr Allen and the Hot 8 Brass Band, and Youth ensembles from the Harlem School of the Arts

A Block Party at The Riverbank State Park
679 Riverside Drive at 145 St.
1:00 - 6:30 pm

Free Performance
Craft and Food Vendors at the Park

The tradition of Sunday block parties came to Harlem from New Orleans, where neighbors would gather after church to share music, food and good company. In the spirit of that tradition, the Columbia/Harlem Festival of Global Jazz is pleased to present Jazz on the Riverbank – a celebration of family, community and great music, featuring:

The Chico O'Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, directed by Arturo O'Farrill
Chico O'Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra

The Chico O'Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, directed by Arturo O'Farrill

Michael Philip Mossman, Jim Seeley, Matt Hilgenberg, Valery Ponomarev, trumpets
David Bixler, Todd Bashore, alto saxophones; Michael Migliore, Peter Brainin, tenor saxophones; Maximilien Schweiger, baritone saxophone; Reynaldo Jorge, Gary Valente, Sam Burtis, trombone; Jack Jeffers, bass trombone; Andy Gonzalez, bass; Vince Cherico, drums; Joe Gonzalez, Roland Guerrero, percussion; Arturo O'Farrill, piano

Arturo O' Farrell

About Arturo O’Farrill
Arturo O'Farrill was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City. Educated at the Manhattan School of Music and the Brooklyn College Conservatory, O'Farrill played with the Carla Bley Big Band from 1979 through 1983, and went on to develop as a piano soloist with a wide spectrum of artists, including Wynton Marsalis, Dizzy Gillespie, Steve Turre, Papo Vasquez, The Fort Apache Band, Lester Bowie, and Harry Belafonte.
In 1995, O'Farrill began his leadership of the ensemble that preserved much of his father's music, Chico O'Farrill's Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra. The Orchestra has been in residence at New York City's Birdland for the past few years, as well as performing throughout the world. Besides recording two albums, Bloodlines and A Night in Tunisia, O'Farrill has appeared on numerous recordings, including the soundtrack to the critically-acclaimed movie Calle 54. A widely respected educator, O'Farrill has remarked, "I'm always looking for opportunities to transcend international or racial boundaries."
O'Farrill was a special guest soloist in three landmark Jazz at Lincoln Center concerts: "Afro Cuban Jazz: Chico O'Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra" (1995), "Con Alma: The Latin Tinge in Big Band Jazz" (1998), and the 2001 Jazz at Lincoln Center Gala. In March 2002, he was the featured artist in Jazz at Lincoln Center's "Jazz in the Schools" Tour. During two intense weeks, O'Farrill led a Latin jazz quintet for 24 educational performances throughout the New York City metropolitan area. From 2002 to 2007, O'Farrill directed Jazz at Lincoln Center's Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra.

For more information on Arturo O’Farrill, see


George Gee's Jump, Jivin' Wailers

George Gee

About George Gee
A native New Yorker, George Gee grew up with rock n’ roll and R&B, but also developed a powerful passion for swing, especially the big band styles of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Louis Jordan, Frank Sinatra, Cab Calloway and other legends. As a young bassist, George wowed the crowds at Stuyvesant High School with his flashy showmanship in the school’s jazz band. As a freshman at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, George Gee launched his "Make-Believe Ballroom" program (named after the vintage Martin Block show) on the college radio station, and told everyone who would listen about his dream of leading his own big band.
His college radio show was a huge hit, and the station asked George to interview his idol, William "Count" Basie, before a campus concert. That conversation would change George Gee’s life forever. The next day, he assembled his own 17-piece big band, the Make-Believe Ballroom Orchestra. Throughout the 1980's, George spread his swing gospel throughout the Pittsburgh tri-state region, from rowdy frat houses to black-tie society galas, corporate events and top nightclubs.

Returning home to New York City in 1990, Gee summoned top New York-based veterans of the world’s most legendary big bands for a new and more powerful edition of his Make-Believe Ballroom Orchestra. His newer ten-piece band, Jump, Jive & Wailers, formed in 1998 (which George lovingly calls his “Economy Big Band"), travels around the United States and the world, headlining swing and lindy-hop dance events. A veritable Ambassador of Swing, George Gee has lectured at the New School on the evolution of the art, led clinics and master classes, and served as a primary expert for the 2000 nationally broadcast BRAVO documentary "This Joint is Jumpin'."

Now the only Chinese-American Swing big band leader, in 2005 George Gee celebrated his Silver Anniversary in the “Big Band Business” “People have asked me lately what I’ll do now that the ‘swing fad’ that grew a few years back has subsided," Gee says. "Well, I’m proud to say that today, swing music, jazz, and the Big Band art form are not only alive and well, but enjoying their widest popularity since their heydays.”

For more information on George Gee, see


Shamarr Allen and the Hot 8 Brass Band:
Shamarr Allen, trumpet; Steven Walker, Herbert Stevens, trombones; Walter Ramsey, tuba; Byron Bernard, saxophone, William Terry, saxophones; Floyd Grey III, snare drum; Ellis Joseph, bass drum


About Shamarr Allen
Born in New Orleans, Shamarr Allen became immersed in music at the early age of 7. His father, a saxophonist by hobby, became his first music teacher. In school, Allen played in concert and marching bands, and as a teenager he attended the Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp, where he studied under Edward “Kidd” Jordan, Clyde Kerr Jr., Herlin Riley and the late Alvin Batiste. His artistry was also greatly influenced by Yvette Best, then flautist for the North Dakota Philharmonic, and by his mentors, Leroy Jones, Joe Torregano, Bob French and Tim Green, some of New Orleans’ best-known jazz musicians. At age 16, he appeared at Carnegie Hall with the Mahogany Brass Band.

Allen began his professional career as a street musician in the French Quarter playing with Tuba Fats. Playing with street musicians for tourists led to his involvement with New Orleans brass bands: the Hot 8 Brass Band, the Rebirth Brass Band, then Lil’ Rascals, Treme and others. He leads traditional jazz bands and his own funk and rock group, The Underdawgs, and has written and produced hip-hop tracks, traditional jazz and rock tunes.

Allen has performed with Branford Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr., Dr. Michael White, Henry Butler, Bob French, Leo Nocentelli, George Porter, Ivan Neville, Tim Green and Marcia Ball, to name a few, and has performed on major festivals and concerts around the world. In October 2007, he will release his first album,“Meet Me On Frenchmen Street,” featuring both jazz standards and original tunes, with Herlin Riley, Dr. Michael White, Irvin Mayfield, Kermit Ruffins, and other New Orleans music icons.

Along with a busy performance schedule, Allen currently runs a weekly clinic at Sound Café in New Orleans, where he teaches music to middle and high school jazz enthusiasts. In 2007, the city of New Orleans honored Allen for his work as a teacher and role model. With the spirit and demeanor of Louis Armstrong, Allen has put his own unique stamp on musical creativity. Like Armstrong, his concern for people and pleasing an audience always comes first.

For more information about Shamarr Allen, see


Hot 8 Brass Bamd

About The Hot 8 Brass Band

The Hot 8 Brass Band has been central to New Orleans street music for over a decade. Founded by Bennie Pete in 1995, the band has played in many traditional Second Line parades hosted each Sunday afternoon by a Social Aid and Pleasure Club. The band is famous for playing all day in the sun, then hopping to a club gig and playing right through the night.

The Hot 8 Brass Band has toured in Japan, Italy, France, Spain, Finland, England, and Sardinia. They play regularly at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and have played in the Zulu Parade, San Antonio Zulu Association Festival, the City of New Orleans New Year's Celebration and Mo' Fest, the Tom Joyner Morning Show, and the Master P music video "Hootie Hoo."

The Hot 8 have also been the featured band in an important relief project following Hurricane Katrina and the devastation wrought upon New Orleans. SAVE OUR BRASS! is a local grass-roots project that has brought music to evacuee shelters, temporary trailer parks, and communities that have reached out to New Orleanians. As a result, the Hot 8 Brass Band has been featured on CNN, Nightline, and WDSU-TV (New Orleans) and in the New York Times. The Hot 8 played in the Village Halloween Parade and in Central Park in New York and Putumayo World Music's Concert of Thanksgiving in New Orleans. They are now recording their second album.

For more information about The Hot 8 Brass Band, see