True Flight Borders LogoIs a swinging affair and a testament to the ensemble’s virtuosity, versatility, and ability to create music that appeals to a wide audience.

Modeled after the standard big-band format, the ensemble draws inspiration from the orchestras of Tito Puente, Machito, Tito Rodriguez and Mario Bauza but the vast majority of the repertoire is original compositions and arrangements, composed by Rendon, Rick Faulkner, and Joe Mannozzi. Tunes that, musically speaking, run the gamut – from straight-ahead New York Mambo to danceable Latin-Jazz and Brazilian and Afro-Peruvian rhythms.


The Latin Jazz Orchestra was founded by trumpeter Armando Rodriguez and drummer Victor Rendon in 1991. The Orchestra is smoothly piloted through a Latin jazz exploration of rhythm and melody.

All but three of the tracks are expressive arrangements of Latin melodies, providing free reign for jazz possibilities, especially in the horn soloing. Mostly this is a combination of saxes and trumpets, but special attention should be brought to Mauricio Smith's flute solo in Chick Corea's "Guajira." In that song and most others, pianist Arturo O'Farrill delicately romances or otherwise extrapolates the melody.

O'Farrill's father, Afro-Cuban jazz arranger Chico O'Farrill, arranges and conducts four of the cuts. The original material features a fun frolicking session between marimba (Victor Mendoza) and baritone saxophone (Charlie Lagond) on "Huachinango De Veracruz." Congas, bongos, kit drums, and bass toss back and forth a cornucopia of rhythms on the Latin Jazz Orchestra original "Percussion Excursion." Havana Blues is a largely bright and sunny collection (Farrills' "Tres Palabras" is the most "blue" piece), exhibiting fresh approaches to traditional material and exciting original pieces.
~ Tom Schulte

 Havana Blues CD Info 

  • 1. Havana Blues
  • 2. The Cobra
  • 3. Palabras de Mujer
  • 4. Guajira
  • 5. Afrodisia
  • 6. Huachinango de Veracruz
  • 7. Percussion Excursion
  • 8. Tres Palabras
  • 9. Blue Mambo
  • 10. Where You At?



  • Armando Rodriguez (trumpet)
  • Adela Dalto (vocals)
  • Mauricio Smith (flute)
  • Bob Franceschini, Peter Brainin (tenor saxophone)
  • Pablo Calogero, Enrique Fernandez, Peck Allmond (saxophone)
  • Charles Lagond (baritone saxophone)
  • Manny Duran, John Walsh , Victor Paz, Jim Seeley (trumpet)
  • Earl McIntyre, Gerald Chamberlain, Papo Vasquez, Dave Chamberlain (trombone)
  • Arturo O'Farrill, Igor Atalita (piano)
  • Victor Mendoza (vibraphone, marimba) 
  • Victor Rendon (drums, timbales)
  • Ray Col¢n, Giovanni Hidalgo, Milton Cardona (congas, percussion)
  • Johnny Almendra (bongos, guiro, percussion)
  • Joe Gonzalez (bongos, percussion)
  • Ken Ross (percussion)
  • Audio Mixers: Victor Rendon; Armando Rodriguez; John Diaz
  • Liner Note Author: Carlos Rosario
  • Recording information: Nola Studios, New York, NY (08/16/1994-11/23/1996)
  • Skylight, Belleville, NJ (08/16/1994-11/23/1996)
  • Unknown Contributor Role: Dave Chamberlain. 
  • Producers: Victor Rendon, Armando Rodriguez.
  • Arrangers: Chico O'Farrill; Victor Rendon; Armando Rodriguez

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