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Vermont Jazz Center Presents: Adam O’Farrill Quartet (Emerging Artist Series)

Adam O’Farrill and Stranger Days PR
Concert to take place on April 29th, 2017

Press Release by Eugene Uman, Vermont Jazz Center, 802 254 9088,
Press Release date: April 15th, 2017

Short Summary:
Who: Adam O’Farrill, trumpet and compositions; Chad Lefkowitz-Brown, saxophones; Walter Stinson, bass; Zack O’Farrill, drums
What: Original Music influenced by literature and cinema, informed by the jazz tradition
When: Saturday, April 29th, 2017 at 8:00 PM
Where: The Vermont Jazz Center, 72 Cotton Mill Hill, #222, Brattleboro, VT 05301
Tickets available: online at, email at, by phone 802 254 9088, in person at In The Moment, Main St., Brattleboro, VT.

Young, Award-winning Trumpeter and Jazz Composer, Adam O’Farrill to Perform with Quartet at the Vermont Jazz Center on Saturday, April 29th, 2017

Adam O’Farrill and his quartet, Stranger Days, will perform at the Vermont Jazz Center on Saturday, April 29th at 8:00 PM. O’Farrill is an award-winning first call trumpeter from Brooklyn. He is a regular member of the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra (led by his Grammy-award winning father, Arturo O’Farrill) and the ensembles of Rudresh Mahanthappa. He can be found performing and recording with top artists such as Christian McBride, Vijay Ayer, Jason Lindner and others. Adam’s quartet, Stranger Days, is the band he created to hone his compositions and develop his unique notions of form, improvisation and interaction. It is a collaborative project he shares with his brother, drummer Zack O’Farrill, saxophonist Chad Lefkowitz-Brown and bassist Walter Stinson. They are good friends who practice together, talk deeply about music and develop ideas as a team; they are four brilliant musicians striving to get to the core of a unified concept.

The music we will hear at the Vermont Jazz Center on April 29th is an example of what happens when young, talented minds come together to create in an unfettered, nurturing environment. Following O’Farrill’s vision, this group has developed unique forms and devised an improvisational vocabulary that has evolved into a new set of musical rules that have never been explored in this way before. The structures they generate are influenced by O’Farrill’s passions for cinema and video gaming and they assemble jazz-based compositions that tell stories inspired by these passions. Zack O’Farrill (Adam’s brother) describes the programmatic nature of the music in the liner notes of their self-titled album: “The compositions on this record aren’t about blowing solos, they’re about telling stories, creating sets and scenes…each instrument is taking on a specific role as a character…In rehearsals we spend a lot of time discussing what the narrative direction of the composition is and how our playing should reflect that.”

When listening to the music of Stranger Days we are uplifted by danceable grooves and propelled by an implied storyline. We eagerly follow the quartet’s lead, trusting them as well-versed tour guides through a maze of melodic and rhythmic twists and turns. This is heady, youthful music, but all it takes is a little concentration to enter their world. We are all enthusiastically invited, and age never limits accessibility. Once inside of Stranger Days’ realm we are engaged by the ensemble’s unified purpose and captivated by the coloristic visions they collectively morph into musical events. This group takes their cinematic concept to heart; they manifest characters and create storylines that beckon our curious ears toward unexpected sub-plots, developments and climaxes. Magic is created when the four musicians become characters within a story, each individual playing his part within the fabric of the narrative, each coaxing a wide variety of sounds and emotional palettes from their instruments. As a unit, they swing hard and use dynamics, humor and the jazz language in a masterful blend as dictated by the compositions. Their clarity of ideas, virtuosic ease, self-confidence and the playfulness that they share with the audience is generated from having worked intensively on this project for several years. Zach O’Farrill’s comments in the liner notes point out that their ideas didn’t evolve from a traditional jazz education but from inquisitive searching and relationship building: “This band is built on friendship and stupid jokes…more importantly…Stranger Days is built on trust.”

It is remarkable to think that Adam O’Farrill was born in 1994; his prescient ideas are so fully conceived that it seems as if his concepts were born fully formed. But young trailblazers like Louis Armstrong have been at the forefront of jazz since the music’s inception. Miles Davis by his 24th birthday had already apprenticed with Bird and was deep into exploring the colors of his bebop-influenced nonet. Young, thirsty, creative musicians are the ones we can learn the most from. If we can accept their radical, new perspectives then they have given us the eyes to witness the edge of the curve.

About the Band:
Adam O’Farrill took 3rd place in the Thelonious Monk competition and is a recent graduate of the Manhattan School of Music. He just completed a commission and performance at the Jazz Gallery for voice and septet called “I’d Like My Life Back.” O’Farrill has written film scores and was commissioned by the Baltimore-based chamber duo, The Witches, to write a piece for their project called “Behind the Curtain” which celebrates femininity and female leaders of the world today. His father is the jazz pianist and bandleader Arturo O’Farrill with whom he performs in the Grammy-award winning Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra; his grandfather is the legendary composer/arranger Chico O’Farrill who wrote for Dizzy Gillespie, Machito, Count Basie, Bennie Goodman, Stan Kenton (Charlie Parker was featured soloists in his Manteca Suite). Adam also co-leads the O’Farrill Brothers band which released their debut album Giant Peach in 2011 and Sensing Flight in 2013. This recording received a 4-star review in DownBeat and was listed in the Top 50 Albums of 2013 by JazzTimes. O’Farrill has performed with Vijay Iyer and many other significant artists of our time. As a regular member of alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa’s group, (comma added) Adam appears prominently in the recording Bird Calls, which received Downbeat’s Best Jazz Album of the year and was selected as one of NPR’s Best Albums in 2015.

The saxophonist of Stranger Days is Chad Lefkowitz-Brown, a graduate of the Brubeck Institute in California and a multiple DownBeat Magazine Student Music Award winner. Lefkowitz-Brown has performed on television with pop icons Taylor Swift and Don Henley. He has shared the stage and recorded with some of the most influential names in jazz including Clarence Penn, Dave Brubeck, McCoy Tyner, Christian McBride, Amina Figarova, and Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra. He has performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Monterey Jazz Festival, Carnegie Hall, the Super Bowl, the GRAMMY awards, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola and Blues Alley. Drummer Zack O’Farrill has explored hip-hop, electronic music, and 20th century classical music. He records and performs with his father, Arturo O’Farrill, with whom he has appeared or assisted on 5 albums including 2 Grammy-award winning recordings. He is co-leader of the collaborative Marques Stinson O’Farrill Trio which released their debut album, Pa’lante, and currently runs the Liberté Big Band in Brooklyn. Stranger Days will also be joined by Walter Stinson on bass.

The Vermont Jazz Center is pleased to present Adam O’Farrill’s Stranger Days as part of its Emerging Artist Series. Jazz music is in good hands thanks to younger generation musicians like Adam and Stranger Days who are already so accomplished and so clear about their calling. It is incumbent upon us lovers of music to support these young artists as they establish their identity and share their vision. Will Layman of PopMatters writes: “Adam O’Farrill, just a kid, feels like a headline flying off the front of the Times: sizzling and sharp, assured the way you dream of being, and unable to play an obvious line, a cliché, a standard phrase.” O’Farrill’s music is unique in its conception and adheres to new developments in jazz that are worthy of our utmost attention.

The VJC is grateful to Ed Anthes and Mary Ellen Copeland who are generous friends dedicated to the advancement of music and ideas. They have sponsored this concert as a means to support the VJC’s mission of bringing a youthful voice to our programming and expanding our community’s definition of jazz and improvised music. Without their generous contributions this concert would not be possible. The VJC is also thankful for the ongoing assistance from the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, Hampton Inn of Brattleboro. VJC publicity is underwritten by the Brattleboro Reformer, WVPR, WVEW, WFCR and Chris Lenois of WKVT’s Green Mountain Mornings.

Tickets for Adam O’Farrill’s Stranger Days that will take place on April 29th at 8:00 PM at the Vermont Jazz Center are $20+ general admission, $15 for students with I.D. (contact VJC about educational discounts); available at In the Moment in Brattleboro, or online at, by email at Tickets can also be reserved by calling the Vermont Jazz Center ticket line, 802-254-9088, ext. 1. Handicapped access is available by calling the VJC at 802 254 9088.

Adam O’Farrill Website:
With the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra:
Thelonious Monk Competition – performance of Strayhorn’s UMMG:
With Olli Hirvonen’s New Helsinki:
With Rudresh Mahanthappa:
Bird Calls: