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Afro Bop Alliance/Joe McCarthy

Afro Bop Alliance/Joe McCarthy


Artist Work

Afro Bop Alliance Big Band


Performance Spotlight: Joe McCarthy with The Afro Bop Alliance Big Band

Artist Information

Anne Arundel County
410 279-1831
Artistic Category

Music, Performing Arts

Artist Bio


“Listening to the exquisite playing and arranging of the Afro Bop Alliance is always an experience. The mix they’ve achieved is so balanced that you never feel that the music is too Latin to be jazz or too jazzy to be Latin.” Paquito D’Rivera

Latin Grammy Award winning Afro Bop Alliance (ABA) is an Afro-Cuban jazz ensemble based in Washington, DC, who was received Latin Jazz Album of the Year at the 9th Annual Latin Grammy Awards in 2008 for the recording “Afro Bop Alliance, featuring Dave Samuels,” which was released on the Heads-Up label. This recording was also nominated for a Grammy in the same category that same year.

ABA was founded and is led by drummer Joe McCarthy. The band is comprised of first call jazz and Latin jazz players from the Washington, DC and NYC, and includes Luis Hernandez (tenor saxophone), Tim Stanley (trumpet), Vince Norman (alto saxophone), Victor Provost (steel pan), Harry Appelman (piano), Tom Baldwin (bass) and Roberto Quintero (percussion). Collectively they perform with some of the greatest names in the business including Paquito D’Rivera, Richard Bona, The Smithsonian Masterworks Jazz Orchestra, US Navy Commodores Jazz Ensemble and Dave Samuels.

The music of ABA has long been inspired by the great be-bop tradition, married to the rich rhythmic stylings of Afro-Caribbean music and is composed by the members of the band and arranged by Vince Norman.

Afro Bop Alliance has also recorded and performed as an 18 member big band that plays from their own extensive catalogue of charts. The big band library is arranged by Dan Drew and Vince Norman, with additional compositions added through collaborations with Roland Vazquez, Oscar Stagnaro, Dave Samuels and the Caribbean Jazz Project and many others.

The Afro Bop Alliance has been featured at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Duke Ellington Jazz Festival, The Silver Spring Jazz Festival, The Provincetown Jazz Festival, The WC Handy Jazz Festival, Blues Alley, Bethesda Blues and Jazz, Rams Head On Stage with Paquito D’ Rivera, The Jazz Educators Network International Convention (JEN), The Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC), The University of Florida, Georgetown University, George Mason University, University of Maryland, West Chester University, Rowan University and The Smithsonian’s Jazz Appreciation Series, among many others.

Guests who have recorded and or performed with the band include Paquito D’ Rivera, Poncho Sanchez, Arturo O’ Farrill, Dave Samuels, Roland Vazquez, Luis Perdomo, Luques Curtis, Michael Mossman, Ray Vega, Antonio Hart, Oscar Stagnaro, Samuel Torres and Alex Norris.

Afro Bop has released five recordings to date: Encarnacion, Camino Nuevo, Afro Bop Alliance-featuring Dave Samuels, and Una Mas. The latest recording, Angel Eyes, debuting on Zoho, received a 4.5 star rating in Downbeat Magazine. “Everything works on Angel Eyes, making this a must-have album for collectors of inventive Afro-Cuban jazz.”

The 2014 New Music USA Grants program has awarded the band’s next recording, Joe McCarthy’s Afro Bop Alliance Big Band presents the Music of Roland Vazquez, Paquito D’ Rivera and Friends an $8000 grant. Of the 1,174 projects received, this project is one of 57 awarded and now published on

In addition to their Latin Grammy, ABA has received a total four Wammie Awards (Washington DC Area Music Association) two for Best Latin Ensemble, one for Best Latin Recording and one Best Big Band Recording.

Active in education, Afro Bop Alliance has led numerous clinics/master classes around the country at both the collegiate and secondary school levels, including Rowan University, Shenandoah Conservatory, Florida Atlantic University, Georgetown University, George Mason University, Washington College and West Chester University. The music of Afro Bop Alliance is featured in leader/drummer Joe McCarthy’s educational Afro-Cuban big band play-along series published by Alfred Music.