Zack O’Farrill is a multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-musical artist who doesn’t believe in the walls that separate us. Growing up in a musical household, the son of classical pianist Alison Deane and jazz pianist, composer, bandleader Arturo O’Farrill, Zack and his brother, the trumpeter Adam O’Farrill, grew up playing and listening to a wide world of music. From the European-concert-music-influenced Afro-Cuban big band jazz of their grandfather, Chico O’Farrill, to the tongue-in-cheek free jazz of Carla Bley, to having a rotation of the Beatles, Steely Dan, Earth Wind and Fire, and Oscar Peterson in the car on summer road trips, growing up in the hip-hop generation, and extensive study of music in the new world derived from the African Diaspora, Zack has never viewed music with any particular regard to genre.
Zack has performed with a number of artists of various generations and musical viewpoints. He has performed extensively with his father and his brother in many different configurations, including the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. Zack was the founding drummer for both the Fred Ho-founded Eco-Music Big Band, and the Libertè Big Band. He has collaborated extensively with pianist Albert Marquès, and also performs regularly with saxophonists Livio Almeida and Roy Nathanson, guitarist Jessica Ackerley, and many more.
Zack has studied with incredible musicians such as Dave Meade, Vince Cherico, Victor Jones, Kendrick Scott, Justin Dicioccio, John Riley, Miles Okazaki, Roy Nathanson, Arturo O’Farrill, Joe Gonzalez, and many more. Zack is a reluctantly good academic and received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from the CUNY Macaulay Honors College at City College. He is currently working on his Master’s Degree in Jazz Percussion from the Manhattan School of Music. Zack continues to study a wide variety of subjects independently and with less formal teachers.
Zack is also a dedicated educator who has taught in after-school music programs in New York City since 2010. He is the director of the Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats youth big band, which offers free instruction to talented and deserving high school students from all boroughs. He has been a faculty member of the Flynn Center Latin Jazz for Teens camp in Burlington Vermont for 7 years. He also teaches privately at his home in Brooklyn. If you’re interested in studying with Zack, click here.
As a composer Zack has had compositions featured on recordings with the Marquès Stinson O’Farrill Trio, the Eco-Music Big Band, and his composition “There’s a Statue of José Martí in Central Park” closes the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra’s Grammy-winning record Cuba: The Conversation Continues (listen here). Zack currently leads his own quartet, performing his original music, and is in the process of planning his first record as a leader.