In early 2018, percussionists Roberto Luis Sanchez (Conga drummer) and Robert Acevedo Jr. (Drum set and Timbales drummer) founded the Afro-Cuban Jazz Organization Orchestras (a.k.a. "ACJO" Orchestras). Since its founding in the City of Chattanooga, the organization's mission has been to create entertaining and educational orchestras that would be formed by professional musicians or students of music, who live in college towns throughout the United States of America and are committed to honor and continue to enrich the wonderful traditions and quality of a musical genre of music called "Afro-Cuban Jazz" (a.k.a. "Latin Jazz").
It is the founders' deep desire that our orchestras' members will generate unforgettable experiences of high-quality music and enjoyment for their fellow participating musicians (whether professionals or students), for our organization's sponsors and supporters, and for those fans or casual listeners of the music. Our ACJO Orchestras' music promise to be uplifting and to get audiences on their feet. Afro-Cuban Jazz offers traditional values and emotions that the organization would just love to share with current audiences and with future generations of musicians and audiences, who would also be committed to enjoy and respect the historical contributions of Africa's cultural heritage as an essential part of the American experience. If after attending one of our orchestra's performances, the audiences leaves the venue with a smile, humming a rhythmic pattern, simply shuffling their feet to the rhythm of a tune, and have gained greater appreciation for Afro-Cuban Jazz, our organization has fulfilled its mission for the day!
Former generations of musicians were well aware of the influences of African and Latin American rhythms in Jazz, but few music lovers today might be aware of how these genres began to mix in the United States circa 1940s with orchestras such as "Machito and His Afro-Cubans" and musicians such as Mario Bauza and Chico O'Farril to form what we now call Afro-Cuban Music or Latin Jazz as the music of other Latin American countries (e.g., Brazil, Puerto Rico and Peru) began to infiltrate the genre during the early 1960s (e.g., the Bossa Nova and Club-Samba era). The process of mixing the genres of Cuban and Jazz music had long before then started at the very musical cities of Havana and New Orleans, but it was not until an early immigrant from Cuba named "Chano" Pozo met the wonderful Jazz musician named "Dizzy" Gillespie in 1947 and he became part of Dizzy's band that they, together with other excellent musicians, popularized that mix into what is now known as "Afro-Cuban Jazz" style. Such men were the founding musical inspiration for ACJO Organization's formation. This organization's orchestras truly stand upon the shoulders of such early Afro-cuban Jazz and Latin Jazz musicians.
Our music blends big band jazz, Afro-Cuban rhythms, acoustic melodies, and electronic to create exciting sounds. Our members are professionally trained musicians and most are either alumni or current professors/students at the University of Florida, which is located in the City of Gainesville, FL.