Curatorial Board Bios




Founding Members

Lara Bello












    Latin Grammy Award nominee producer, guitarist, singer-songwriter, Juancho Herrera is part of a wave of extraordinary Latin American musicians who’ve transformed the New York music scene.

    In recent decades, he’s carved out a singular path with a highly personal synthesis of jazz and South American sounds.
    Herrera, with four albums released under his name, is a Berklee College of Music graduate and has been an essential collaborator with some of the era’s definitive voices in jazz and world music, such as Claudia Acuña, Marta Gomez, Lila Downs, and Sofia Rei.

    He’s performed and recorded in 40 countries, in top venues such as the Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Teatro Juan Pablo Tobón, Centro Cultural BOD among others, with international heavyweights such as Mercedes Sosa, The Chieftains, Branford Marsalis, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alejandro Sanz, Pedrito Martinez and Idan Raichel. 


    Argentine vocalist, composer and producer SOFIA REI combines in her music stylistic codes drawn from multiple sources, ranging from South American folkloric styles to jazz, pop, new classical music and electronic sounds.

    Rei attended the National Conservatory of Music (Bs As) and got her master’s degree at the New England Conservatory (Boston).

    She has collaborated with artists such as John Zorn, Maria Schneider, Marc Ribot, Bobby McFerrin, Pedrito Martinez, Mike Patton, Susana Baca and Guillermo Klein, and thrilled audiences at the most prestigious venues in the U.S.

    and around the world. She’s released 5 internationally acclaimed albums under her name and received a Grammy nomination and 4 Independent Music Awards. 


    Living in the United States since 1980, Argentine-born bassist and composer Pablo Aslan is recognized internationally as one of the leading figures in traditional and contemporary tango. His extensive discography includes Piazzolla in Brooklyn (2011), a tribute to Astor Piazzolla, and Tango Grill (2009).

    The latter earned him nominations for a Latin Grammy Award (“Best Tango Album”) and a Grammy Award (“Best Latin Jazz Album”). As a producer, he has shaped more than a dozen albums, including the 2007 Latin Grammy Winner “Te Amo Tango” by Uruguayan bandoneonist Raul Jaurena.

    Serving as Artistic Director of the Reed Tango Music Institute for the 2013-14 season, Aslan has also been a Featured Artist at the Indiana University Tangueros Conference.


    Named Spanish World Music Artist of the Year 2010 (World Music Charts Europe) for her debut, “Niña pez”(2009).

    In 2012 her second recording, “Primero amarillo después malva”, earned raves in the United States and Latin America from PEOPLE Magazine and NPR’s “The World.” 2013 saw her third recording, “Garnatiyya”, and praised on CNN for release of an album based on traditional Spanish songs compiled by poet Federico García Lorca, called “Por el agua de Granada: Cancionero Lorquiano”.

    Bello is a storyteller, a cultural voyager and a dancer-vocalist. On stage she is an open and charismatic presence, with a meticulous intelligence.

    All her songs are original and represent world music, or fusion, of the best, most unforced sort, which, rather than poaching on other cultures, recuperates and acknowledges roots and sources already present and influential in one’s own. 


    Brazilian percussionist and educator Rogério Boccato plays in projects led by some of today’s leading jazz players, among them Maria Schneider, John Patitucci, Fred Hersch, Brian Blade, Danilo Perez, Kurt Elling and many others.

    He has also collaborated with top-ranking Brazilian artists, such as Toninho Horta, Moacir Santos, Zé Renato and Vinicius Cantuária. 

    He is featured on two Grammy-award winning albums: “The Thompson Fields”, with the Maria Schneider Orchestra, and on Billy Childs’ “Rebirth”. He is also featured on three Grammy-nominated albums: Kenny Garrett’s “Beyond The Wall”, John Patitucci‘s “Remembrance“ (alongside Joe Lovano and Brian Blade), and on Alan Ferber’s “Jigsaw”. Rogério Boccato has played with Antonio Carlos Jobim, Hermeto Pascoal, Milton Nascimento, Egberto Gismonti, João Bosco, Joe Zawinul, among many others. 


    Barcelona-born and Brooklyn-based Alexis Cuadrado is an award-winning composer, producer, bandleader, bassist and educator. He has become one of the most sought-after musicians in the New York scene.

    Cuadrado’s work draws from the crossover of jazz, world, flamenco, and new music, exploring the confluence of the Hispanic and American cultures, as well as embracing a deep commitment to comment on social issues.

    His recent output is a restless exploration of cross-disciplinary works that embrace poetry, film, radio-podcasts, dance, and design. 


    Fernando González is a GRAMMY-nominated and EMMY-winning writer, editor, and musician.

    He writes about arts and culture for the digital arts magazine Artburst Miami and the music blog Jazz With An Accent.

    His work also appears in The Miami Herald and the Miami New Times. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, González majored in math at the University of Buenos Aires before pursuing music full time.

    He moved to the United States to attend Berklee College of Music, majoring in Composition/Film Scoring. He also studied composition with George Russell and electronic music with Robert Ceely at the New England Conservatory.

    Since 2011, González also has been the Associate Editor for Print & Special Projects for The Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (Latin GRAMMY®); and in 2019, he joined the editorial team of the Miami Book Fair as an Associate Editor and writer. 


    Arturo O’Farrill pianist, composer, and educator, was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City.

    He received his formal musical education at the Manhattan School of Music and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. Arturo’s professional career began with the Carla Bley Band and continued as a solo performer with a wide spectrum of artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Bowie, Wynton Marsalis, and Harry Belafonte.

    Arturo’s well-reviewed and highly praised “Afro-Latin Jazz Suite” from the album CUBA: The Conversation Continues (Motéma) took the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition and the 2016 Latin Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album.

    His powerful “Three Revolutions” from the album Familia-Tribute to Chico and Bebo was the 2018 Grammy Award (his sixth) winner for Best Instrumental Composition. 


    Born in Mexico City, five-time Grammy Award winner Antonio Sanchez began playing the drums at age five and performed professionally in his early teens in Mexico’s rock, jazz and Latin scenes.

    Since moving to New York City in 1999, Antonio has become one of the most sought-after drummers in the international jazz scene. He has partnered on musical collaborations with, among others, guitarist/composer Pat Metheny, Chick Corea, Gary Burton, Michael Brecker, Charlie Haden and Toots Thielemans.

    In 2014 Sanchez popularity soared when he scored Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “Birdman” or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) which ended up fetching 4 Academy Awards (including best picture) and for which Antonio won a Grammy award.


    Kavita Shah is a vocalist, composer, polyglot, and lifelong New Yorker hailed by NPR for possessing an “amazing dexterity for musical languages”.

    Her projects blending modern jazz, folkloric traditions and new music include “Visions” (2014, co-produced by Lionel Loueke), the interdisciplinary work “Folk Songs of Naboréa” (premiered in 2017 at the Park Avenue Armory), and “Interplay” (2018) in duet with bassist François Moutin.

    She is currently working on an album of traditional Cape Verdean music based on her ongoing ethnographic research. Kavita regularly performs her music at major concert halls, festivals, and clubs on six continents.

    She holds a B.A. in Latin American Studies from Harvard and a Master’s in Jazz Voice from Manhattan School of Music. 


    Eric Taller is Director of Programming and Production for the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance (ALJA), where he’s responsible for the management and development of all of ALJA’s performance programs including their annual Performance Series as well as touring activities for Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra.

    He is founding partner of Ginga P. Culture Business, a Brazilian based company involved in various areas of music and culture, specializing in the production and programming of shows, tours and festivals that brought international artists to Brazil and Brazilian artists to the international marketplace.

    Focusing on Jazz, Afro Brazilian and other forms drawing from the African Diaspora experience.


    Celebrated percussionist, composer and arranger, Samuel Torres was born in Bogota, Colombia.

    He was artistically nurtured in this bustling and culturally sophisticated metropolis where jazz and classical music share the stage with salsa and an infinite variety of Colombian folkloric idioms.

    Inspired by the vibrant urban and Latin dance music scenes of Bogotá and beyond, the music in this latest album exemplifies how people use the language of music to express those feelings of optimism and faith.

    Musically, this latest work by Torres, merges classic jazz traditions with more contemporary Latin urban sounds, as well as popular music styles such as boogaloo, cumbia and Afro-Cuban jazz. 


    Marietta Ulacia joined the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance in May of 2014. Ms. Ulacia is a Cuban-born arts administrator and artist with over 20 years of experience in the non-profit cultural field.

    She spent fifteen years in the Washington DC area where she was the Executive Director of the Latin American Folk Institute.

    Ms. Ulacia is a graduate of the prestigious Amadeo Roldán Conservatory in Havana, Cuba, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Visual Media and a Master’s Degree in Arts Management from American University in Washington, DC.

    Her work as an independent artist and producer includes serving as advisor to the annual FLIC Festival in Brooklyn, a platform for New York choreographers and performance artists. 


    Born in Philadelphia, PA, although his young formative years were in Puerto Rico.

    By age 17, Vazquez headed to New York City, recorded and performed with top artists in the salsa music scene like The Fania All-Stars, Ray Barretto, Willie Colón, Eddie Palmieri, Larry Harlow, and Hector Lavoe. Vázquez became a key player in NYC’s burgeoning Latin jazz scene of the late 1970’s.

    Went on to perform and/or record with jazz luminaries Tito Puente, Dizzy Gillespie’s United Nations Orchestra, Chico O’Farrill, Ray Charles, Slide Hampton’s World of Trombones, Jerry Gonzalez Fort Apache among many others.

    His appreciation and knowledge of the indigenous music of the Caribbean provides him with a unique ability to fuse Afro-Caribbean rhythms with freer melodic and harmonic elements of progressive jazz. 


    Miguel Zenón (born December 30, 1976) is a Puerto Rican alto saxophonist, composer, band leader, music producer, and educator.

    He is a multiple Grammy Award nominee, and the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur Fellowship.

    Zenón has released many albums as a band leader and appeared on over 70 recordings as a sideman.