The New York Afro Bop Alliance Big Band

Just recorded our Pan-American adaptation of The Nutcracker Suite, created by myself and Vince Norman and recorded at Mozart Studio, Kosta Komcev engineer.

Honored to have been included in Dr. Jesse Willis’ detailed chronicle of Dave Samuels and The Caribbean Jazz Project in Percussive Notes. Excerpts below, or read the entire article here.

“Joe McCarthy’s ascent as one of today’s strongest practitioners of Nuyorican Afro-Latin jazz continues with the irrepressible Upwards. – DownBeat Magazine

Afro Bop Alliance Big Band

The New York Afro Bop Alliance Big Band

(Directed by Joe McCarthy)
now based in New York City

Band Members:

Matt Hong
Kristy Norter
Ben Kono
Dave Riekenberg
Eden Bareket

Sara Jacovino
John Yao
Sam Blakeslee
Jen Hinkle

Nick Marchione
Raul Agraz
Bryan Davis
Dave Smith

Manuel Valera (p)
Vinny Valentino (gtr)
Boris Kozlov (b)
Samuel Torres (perc)
Joe McCarthy (drums)

“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

The Latin Grammy Award winning New York Afro Bop Alliance Big Band (ABA) is an Afro-Cuban jazz ensemble based in New York City, winner of  Latin Jazz Album of the Year at the 9th Annual Latin Grammy Awards in 2008 for the recording “Afro Bop Alliance, featuring Dave Samuels,” released on the Heads-Up label. This recording was also nominated for a Grammy in the same category that same year at the 51st Grammy Awards.

ABA was founded and is led by drummer Joe McCarthy. The band is comprised of first call jazz and Latin jazz players from New York City who collectively perform with the greatest names in the business. The band draws from their own extensive catalogue of charts featuring the writing and composing talents of members of the band and collaborations with Dave Samuels and Roland Vazquez, among others. The music of ABA has long been inspired by the great be-bop tradition, married to the rich rhythmic stylings of Afro-Caribbean music.

The New York Afro Bop Alliance Big Band 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 and Alex Norris.

Afro Bop has released seven recordings to date: Encarnacion, Camino Nuevo, Afro Bop Alliance-featuring Dave Samuels, Una Mas, Angel Eyes and Revelation. Their latest recording, UPWARDS, the second release on ZOHO Music, will be released November 2019.

In 2014, New Music USA Grants program awarded The New York Afro Bop Alliance an $8000 grant for the big band project Revelation. Of the 1,174 projects received, this project was one of 57 awarded and is 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, The New York Afro Bop Alliance Big Band 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.

Select Afro Bop Alliance Big Band charts are available through 3:2 Music.