Sunday, September 2, 2018

O’Farrill to Chicago's jazz fanatics at festival: We don’t need no stinkin’ wall

It seems we’re truly in the Age of Trump; we can’t escape it no matter where we go.
Arturo O'Farrill works immigration reform, a border wall and Donald Trump-bashing into jazz fest. Photo by Gregory Tejeda
Not even at the Chicago International Jazz Festival, which wrapped up Sunday at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.

AMONGST THE PERFORMERS who appeared on the final night was Arturo O’Farrill and his sextet – which consists largely of his sons. Who are the grandchildren of Chico O’Farrill, the legendary bandleader and performer of Afro-Cuban music. A family affair?

It was a pleasant-enough performance, but one that felt the taint of partisan politics. What with the way Arturo felt compelled to work political pot shots related to immigration reform and the possible erection of a barricade along the U.S./Mexico border into his performing patter.

Such as his riff off the ever-quotable line from the 1948 film “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” With O’Farrill telling his Chicago audience, “We don’t need no stinkin’ badges. We don’t need no stinkin’ border. We don’t need no stinkin’ wall.”

And yes, I know that the line “We don’t need no stinkin’ badges” never actually appeared in the film in that form. But that didn’t stop the jazz gathering from appreciating the humor.

THE LINE DREW applause from the jazz fanatics in attendance, along with O’Farrill’s line that avoided using the name “Donald Trump,” but said we can always tell when he’s being dishonest. “His lips move,” O’Farrill quipped.
And just in case the audience had Trump fanatics amongst it (not that any of them felt compelled to react publicly), O’Farrill said that the fact we as a society are filled with people who disagree, “is what makes us great.”


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