This week, StLJN's video spotlight shines on the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, an NYC-based ensemble that will bring their show Salsa Navidad" to St. Louis next Friday, December 8 at the Sheldon Concert Hall.
Bandleader Oscar Hernández is well known in New York City Latin music circles, with a long list of credits including performing with salsa greats such as Tito Puente and Celia Cruz during the 1970s, serving as pianist and arranger for singer Rubén Blades in the 1980s, and being the musical director for Paul Simon's Broadway show The Capeman."
The Spanish Harlem Orchestra began in the year 2000 when Hernández was approached by producer Aaron Levinson about assembling and recording a Latin jazz orchestra. The band's debut CD Un Gran Dia en el Barrio, was released in 2002, getting a Grammy nomination for Best Salsa Album and a Latin Billboard Award for Salsa Album of the Year.
Since then, they've taken the New York salsa sound on tour around the world and released four more albums, the latest being 2014's eponymous Spanish Harlem Orchestra on the ArtistShare label, with guest appearances from pianist Chick Corea and saxophonist Joe Lovano.
For an idea of what to expect next week at The Sheldon, you can see and hear a full set by the SOH in the first embedded video up above, recorded on July 30, 2016 at the Tempo Latino festival in Vic-Fezensac, France.
After the jump, there's another video with excerpts from the Salsa Navidad" show as performed in 2016 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion in Los Angeles. That's followed by clips of the tunes Como Baila Mi Mulata," recorded in 2015 in Pittsburgh, and Ariñañara" from the same year, location unlabeled.
The fifth clip is an episode of Salsa En La Calle, which is billed as New York's Premiere Salsa Cable Television Show," from 2015 that features performances from the SOH and some conversation with Hernández.
The final video is another full set, documenting the Orchestra's performance at the 2011 Jazz in Marciac festival in France.
For more about the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, check Hernández's 2014 interview with Pollstar, and his 2013 interview with the website Latino Music Cafe.
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz.
Being a Musician myself, (Lead Guitar/Bass Guitar), I studied at the Dick Grove School of Music with Dick Grove, Jeff Richman and Lee Ritenour. This was around '84-'85. I started playing the Guitar in November 1967. Playing Guitar came quite naturally to me thank goodness. Though I spent hours upon hours practicing while my school buddies were doing Sports.
It was in the early '70s that I really got into Jazz, Jazz Rock, Jazz Fusion and World Music. Seeing Weather Report, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Larry Carlton, Steely Dan, John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, RTF, Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, VSOP, Freddie Hubbard and so many, many more amazing artists opened my eyes to the beauty and eloquent nature of Jazz. I really love the brilliant ensemble playing that is in Jazz!!
When I play and write music, it blends so many style together. Many fans ask me why my playing sounds so jazzy. It's because I understand Blue Notes, the phrasing, the tonality, time signatures and more. I can also play Rock, Folk, Soul, R n' B and other styles too. I seem to gravitate more and more as I get older to a jazzier style. Currently I'm 62 years old. I have released 2 CDs world-wide. Working on my 3rd.
I also teach Guitar/Bass/Music Theory to my students. They range from 6 years old to much, much older. (I was hired by the City of Aurora, CO to teach ages 6-13 specifically). Currently I teach 41 children in 5 classes. Additionally another 7 private students.
My wife, Meesh, and I love Jazz dearly. It was one of the things that we share together!
Most of the people that I know today do not get jazz. I try to explain what to listen for, but many times the music of Jazz is a bit much for them. So be it.
In a nutshell, I live, breath and listen to Music 24/7. No TV except the Food Channel and Weather.
I love John Kelman's articles. They are so insightful and well-constructed!
Thank you all for doing what you do.