Cornel West, Arturo O'Farrill, and Mariachi Los Camperos headline in a concert celebrating the thirty-year history of musical interchange between UCLA and numerous musical organizations across Mexico.
The concert features a special presentation of Arturo O'Farrill's recent Grammy Award-winning album Four Questions, featuring the narration of internationally acclaimed philosopher and social activist Cornel West, and instrumentation by the UCLA Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, directed by O'Farrill, and UCLA Philharmonia, directed by Neal Stulberg. The concert also features performances by legendary Mariachi Los Camperos, directed by Jesús Guzmán, as well as a performance of Miguel Bernal Jiménez's Concertino para Órgano y Orquesta featuring UCLA organist Christoph Bull.
Sponsored by the UCLA Center for Latino Arts, the UCLA Arts Initiative, Friends of Jazz at UCLA, the UCLA César Chávez Department of Chicano and Central American Studies, and The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.
Arturo O'Farrill - Four Questions, featuring Cornel West
GRAMMY® Award-winning pianist/composer Arturo O’Farrill's album Four Questions features special guest Dr. Cornel West on the title composition “Four Questions.”
Premiered live-in-concert at The Apollo Theater in 2016, “Four Questions” took the shape of Dr. Cornel West’s speech at Town Hall (Seattle, WA: October 9, 2014) based on his book, Black Prophetic Fire, expounding upon 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.
“‘Four Questions’ is about bringing attention through Dr. West’s brilliance and vision, coupled with the subversive power of the Afro Latin [Jazz Orchestra], to the influence of revolutionary thought that demands we take stock of where we are as a country and demand better,” says Arturo O’Farrill, pianist/composer and Artistic Director of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance. “We must pay tribute to the jazz greats like Coltrane, Holiday, Mingus, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, and carry on their legacy of bringing attention to the real issues of modern society through jazz music.”
O’Farrill notes, “Watching Dr. West speak is one of the sublime musical moments of my life. His oratory has the weight of a John Coltrane solo. His rhythmic delivery has the tumbao of Mongo Santamaría. The humor with which he injects his very serious messages floats like Charlie Parker in flight and, oh, most sacred of all, when he gets deliberate, each word has the authenticity and Afrocentricity of Thelonious Monk’s right hand.”
Dr. West's performance at Royce Hall is part of a residency at UCLA, as a University of California Regents' Lecturer. His participation is also sponsored by the UCLA Center for Latino Arts; the UCLA Division of Social Sciences, Darnell Hunt—Dean; Friends of Jazz at UCLA, Gloria Turner—President; Professor O'Farrill's UCLA research funding; the Kenny Burrell Chair in Jazz Studies held by Professor Terence Blanchard; the UCLA Herb Alpert Endowment Fund for Guest Lecturers; the Gary Nash Endowed Chair in American History held by Professor Robin G. Kelley, the Ralph Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA, and the UCLA Department of African American Studies.