FAME Review: The O'Farrill Brothers Band - Sensing Flight
The O'Farrill Brothers Band - Sensing Flight

Sensing Flight

The O'Farrill Brothers Band

Zoho Music - ZM201301

Available from CD Baby.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

The O'Farrill boys, Adam and Zack, are becoming ever more well known in the Afro-Latin music community and hail from lineage: their grandfather headed up the Chico O'Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, which enjoyed a 15-year residency at New York's prestigious Birdland, and their father is Arturo O'Farrill, who carried the Orch forward under his own name (while also working in the Afro-Cuban Jazz Alliance) after the death of Chico in 2001. If I say that Arturo once allied with Carla Bley, then you'll have a very good baseline idea of what he passed on to his two sons, 'cause Sensing Flight is a delicious product of divers jazz flavors resulting in extremely intelligent fusion music that's going to knock a lot of socks up to the listeners' knees and then back down again.

Adam O'Farrill's a canny trumpeter, Zack a smooth and inventive drummer, both quite refined in their individual approaches, but the guys also gathered in a fine quartet to surround them. At times, you'll hear The Necks, the older Billy Cobham and Tony Williams band incarnations, 70s progfusion, Weather Report, Passport, Mingus era nu-trad, and a very generous dose of their own group personality in elegantly sophisticated tones and chops. The liner notes aver that this band's putting "the jazz world on notice that the next generation of brilliant young lions has arrived", and they ain't shittin' around one little bit, Hezekiah. Not at all. These young wunderkinds are going to have even Chick Corea smiling from ear to ear, not to mention Ms. Bley and any number of old pros.

There's quite a bit to be said about the arts in genealogical terms, especially when you listen to, say, the Marsalises and then families like the O'Farrills. The degree of marrow-deep almost spooky cognizances and chops displayed by every single member of this sextet constitute sonic wonderment, and Adam, who pens the bulk of the materials, is a formidable figure who will become ever more resplendent in coming years, a writer of Zawinul/Shorter proportions…and then beyond. Not a single second of Sensing Flight is less than arresting, constantly morphing, and 100% jazz…futuristically looking backwards and forwards. I'm as impressed with this disc as I was with Chris Alpiar's The Jazz Expression, which copped a spot on my 2012 Best Of list. Livio Almeida wields an abstractly lyrical sax, Adam Kronelow's a wonder on piano, Gabe Schnider gets nowhere enough lead time in as a Martino/Geissman-esque guitarist, and Raviv Markovitz is one of those bass players providing a whole 'nother dimension in his work, not content to pocket just the timekeeping rhythm duties.

Credit the Bros. for their democracy, as this band is drenched in collective individuality, no one glory-hogging, everything going into the songs. Pops Arturo produced the affair, with Jim Czak and Bill Moss engineering it on the pristine Zoho label, which, to my ears, has yet to issue anything other than great work. That said:

WARNING TO ALL OTHER FAME REVIEWERS!!!: Don't get in my way in the future on this band. I turn into a werewolf when it comes to excellence of this magnitude and am now—um, turn your backs for a moment please—marking territory on the great oaken FAME Yggdrasil tree. Steer clear of future O'Farrill Brothers CDs, y'all…unless, um, you happen to be toting a fifth of good bourbon, and then we can lift elbows and talk about it.

Track List:

  • Drive (Adam O'Farrill)
  • Wrong Key Donkey (Carla Bley)
  • Monet(Adam O'Farrill)
  • Action and Reaction (Livio Almeida)
  • Mind Troubles (Adam O'Farrill)
  • Broken Wing (Adam O'Farrill)
  • Full Measure (Adam O'Farrill)
  • Upper Manhattan Medical Group
  • Sensations (Adam O'Farrill)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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