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Four Questions


Artist: Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra
Label: Zoho Music
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 10 April 2020

Award-winning pianist/composer Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra release their latest recording, Four Questions, via Zoho Music. The album features special guest Dr. Cornel West on the title composition 'Four Questions' as well as weaving together empowering messages for the times to speak truth to the great injustices occurring across the globe...

Premiered live-in-concert at The Apollo Theater on 21 May 21 2016, the album's title track 'Four Questions' sees the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra joined by Dr. Cornel West as a guest soloist, conductor, and percussionist. Arturo O’Farrill’s commissioned piece for the Apollo Theater as part of his MacDowell residency took the shape of Dr. Cornel West’s speech at Town Hall (Seattle, WA: October 9, 2014) based on his book, Black Prophetic Fire. Four questions posed by the great African American civil rights activist and author W. E. B. Du Bois in his 1903 book, The Souls of Black Folk, are expounded upon by West while O’Farrill and his 18-piece orchestra usher in a jolt of inspiring fury.

Elsewhere 'A Still, Small, Voice' is in response to the great financial crisis of 2008 when select financial institutions took part in unscrupulous practices that caused serious harm to middle class Americans and people around the world. It reflects a common thread between all religions and philosophies, and borrows words from Hindu, Christian, and Shinto texts.

There are numerous other issues tackled on the album, but while it's good to get a background to the pieces it's not overly important that you know the messages in order to enjoy the music.

I don't know why... maybe because I've been watching a lot of the detective series lately, but a lot of the tracks on the album brought to mind the same vibe as them music in Columbo, which is no bad thing.

Overall this is a strong and diverse album which really struck a chord with me.


Nick Smithson

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