Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies Acquires Chico O’Farrill Music & Archives


The Cuban jazz great’s son Arturo O’Farrill will lead a concert at the Manhattan School of Music honoring his father’s legacy.

Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies has acquired Cuban jazz great Arturo “Chico” O’Farrill’s music and personal archives. The collection includes O’Farrill’s renowned “Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite” and other compositions essential to the history of both Latin music and jazz.

"Chico would've been honored to know that his work is now available to scholars and students of jazz history,” Chico’s son Arturo O’Farrill said in an announcement from the Institute.

The O’Farrill acquisition will be the first major Latin jazz collection to become part of the 60-year-old institute’s archives, where jazz greats including Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Benny Carter and many others are represented. The O'Farrill Family and Estate donated the collection representing Chico’s legacy, which includes original music manuscripts, photographs and sound recordings.


“The Institute is thrilled to add O'Farrill's illustrious archives to its collection to celebrate Chico's monumental impact in jazz during his lifetime,” the announcement from the Institute of Jazz Studies reads. 

The trumpeter, composer and arranger, who was born to an Irish father and German mother in Cuba, passed away in New York City in 2001 at age 79. He had moved to New York in the late forties; he played with Benny Goodman's orchestra and was a sought after arranger, a pioneer in the fusion of jazz and Latin music. He and his wife Lupe Valero moved to Mexico in the 1950s, and later brought their family back to New York.

Grammy-winning pianist and bandleader Arturo O’Farrill will lead the Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra at a March 28 concert honouring Chico that will also include Arturo’s son Adam. The musicians will perform the “Afro Cuban Jazz Suite,” as well as other compositions by the three generations of the O’Farrill family.