Monday, February 26, 2018
Spanish Harlem Orchestra celebrates 15 years with "Anniversary," out in April
The release show will be Le Poisson Rouge in NYC on April 4.
Other dates include:
May 25-26 at Yoshi's Oakland, CA
June 21-24 at Dimitrious Jazz Alley, Seattle, WA
June 25 at Vancouver International Jazz Festival
June 26 at Victoria International Jazz Festival
On "Anniversary," the powerhouse 13-piece all-star salsa big band demonstrates why they are the "the leading light of the salsa reconstruction movement" (Newsday) by doing what they do best: hard-hitting, no-holds-barred New York salsa that is both contemporary and reverent to its rich musical history.
Since their inception 15 years ago, Spanish Harlem Orchestra (SHO), under the direction of pianist, composer and arranger Oscar Hernández, has earned its reputation as the true voice of the barrio with intricate arrangements and pulsating rhythms that are steeped in the authentic salsa tradition. Their high-energy performances have delighted audiences across the globe from Asia to Australia, from Latin America to Europe.
Grounded in the past, but with a focused eye on the future, Spanish Harlem Orchestra continues to play an integral role in ensuring salsa dura ("hard salsa") is not just alive, but a thriving musical force. "Over the course of 15 years, the consistent thread in each of our records has been the hardcore rhythm, sophisticated arrangements and a lot of care toward producing quality music with high integrity for our genre," says Hernández.
Each member of Spanish Harlem Orchestra has a significant connection to the authentic salsa tradition. It begins with Hernández, who has long been considered one of the most prominent musicians on the Latin, salsa and Latin-jazz music scene. Hernández's musical legacy can be traced back to the 1970's, a time in which he performed with a who's who of salsa legends including Tito Puente, Machito, Celia Cruz, Ray Barretto, Rubén Blades, Conjunto Libre, and Willie Colon. Later, Hernández went on to become the Musical Director for Paul Simon as well as the orchestrator and arranger for Gloria Estefan.
While SHO's previous album featured jazz greats Chick Corea and Joe Lovano, Anniversary allows the band to speak for themselves over the course of 13 lively tracks. Standout moments include the album opener "Esa Nena", which swings to no end while highlighting SHO's signature sophisticated arrangements, and Hernández's "Goza El Ritmo", which will instantly bring listeners to their feet.
Other noteworthy flashes include three modern arrangements of salsa classics: the bolero "La Media Vuelta" is reworked in a salsa style featuring 3-part harmonies and a simmering brass section, while "Y Deja" (Ruben Blades/Willie Colon) and "Guaracha Y Bembe" (Joe Cuba/Cheo Feliciano) are given contemporary updates with a fresh flair. On all their recordings, SHO includes some Latin Jazz. This time jazz trumpet legend Randy Brecker is a featured guest on Hernández's original song "Somos Uno".
Produced by Hernández and co-produced by SHO trombonist and 2018 GRAMMY® Nominee Doug Beavers, "Anniversary" builds on the dynamic legacy built by their previous five releases, which have garnered four GRAMMY® nominations and two wins (in 2004 for sophomore album "Across 110th Street" and again in 2010 for "Viva La Tradicion"). Considered "virtuosic journeymen who are one of New York's great musical resources" (The New York Times), SHO has expanded greatly from their home turf of Harlem to some of the world's premiere stages including the Sydney Opera House, the Playboy Jazz Festival, Carnegie Hall, and many others.
To celebrate the release of Anniversary, Spanish Harlem Orchestra will be performing on Wednesday, April 4th, at Le Poisson Rouge located at 158 Bleeker Street in New York City. More information, including booking, can be found at www.spanishharlemorchestra.com.