Spanish Harlem Orchestra
'Watching these crack musicians rev up their complex, precision polyrhythms and fire up five-part horn harmonies reminded how thrilling this music can be, especially in the hands of committed New Yorkers. The near-anarchic, party-like climax gave fans a final lesson in classic salsa: Never leave before it's over.' L.A. Times
"A salsa masterclass and a piece of collective brilliance. Spanish Harlem's most famous son Tito Puente would have been proud." The London Standard
Its 1963, and like countless Afro American musicians before him, James Brown is making soul history deep in the heart of upper Manhattan, at Harlem's legendary Apollo club. A few blocks away, another rose is blooming, this time in El Barrio, as Spanish Harlem's Puerto Rican community are bearing witness to the birth of another new dance music to add to NYC's illustrious musical heritage. Four decades on, New York Salsa is rising again, this time in the hands of fourteen hardcore salseros of the old school, The Spanish Harlem Orchestra.
Led by the legendary pianist and arranger Oscar Hernandez, Spanish Harlem Orchestra has been spearheading the current revival in classic salsa of the 60s and 70s, the high octane charts of musicians like Ray Barretto and Tito Rodriguez, culled from the releases of the quintessential New York label Fania. It's a timely celebration of the impact of this often overlooked contribution to American music, and last year's debut release 'Un Gran Dia En El Barrio' (Ropeadope), has galvanised the Latin music scene, with major recognition at both the 2003 Billboard Awards and The Grammys.
It's a story that deserves to be told. While salsa's roots lie in Cuba, it was the Puerto Rican diaspora that brought tropical music with them to the US, and it is this driving Nuyorcian sound that reverberates through salsa clubs and dance classes across the world. With a line up that includes seminal figures like singers Ray De La Paz and Frankie Vasquez, Spanish Harlem Orchestra is a veritable salsa aristocracy, and worthy of its often quoted comparison to Havana's Buena Vista Social Club.
All the vital ingredients elements of the salsa gumbo are here: the insistent grooves of the timbales and congas, the percussive drive of the piano montuno, the soaring brass and syncopated bass lines, the call and response of the sonero and his faithful coro of backing vocalists, all delivered with hip NYC attitude. Polish those dancing shoes, shell out for some new threads and take on plenty of liquids, because tonight is going to be a dancefloor workout.
Spanish Harlem Orchestra are:
Oscar Hernandez- Piano,Musical Director/ Ray De La Paz - Singer
Frankie Vazquez - Singer/ William Torres - Singer
John Walsh - Trumpet/ Richard Viruet - Trumpet
Mitch Frohman - Sax & Flute/ Jimmy Bosch - trombone
Pablo Nunez - Timbales / Roberto Quintero - Congas
Roberto Allende - Bongos, Campana/ Ruben Rodriguez - Bass
Adm €22.50(no booking fee) Claddagh Records, Cecilia St Temple Bar D2
Credit Card Booking (no booking fee) Improvised Music Company tel 01 877 9001
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