Two-Time GRAMMY® AWARD-Winning Salsa and Latin Jazz Band
Spanish Harlem Orchestra
Releases New Full-Length Studio Album on September 16, 2014
Featuring Jazz Stars Chick Corea & Joe Lovano
"…they're the virtuosic journeymen who are one of New York’s great musical resources."
-New York Times
"They make you get up and dance, tap into the good-natured, communal spirit characteristic of salsa at its timeless best."
-Los Angeles Times
"…the Spanish Harlem Orchestra has evolved into the leading light of the salsa reconstruction movement…. "
Harlem, NY – Tuesday, August 5, 2014 – There aren't many pianists that can say they've been a Musical Director for Paul Simon and Rubén Blades, written and arranged the theme song for hit shows such as HBO's "Sex in the City," and have recorded and performed with the likes of Tito Puente and Celia Cruz. In fact, there's only one: Oscar Hernandez, a world-renowned pianist/arranger/producer and leader of the GRAMMY® Award-winning 13-piece all-star salsa big band, Spanish Harlem Orchestra. Exclusively comprised of acclaimed instrumentalists known for supporting the "who's who" of salsa, Spanish Harlem Orchestra is a musical tour-de-force keeping the hard-hitting tradition of salsa dura (heavy salsa) alive and well. Coming up on Tuesday, September 16, 2014, Spanish Harlem Orchestra independently releases their fifth eponymous studio album through a fan-funded campaign with ArtistShare®. Interviews and hi-res photos are available upon request.
Produced by Hernandez himself, Spanish Harlem Orchestra features a stellar collection of nine newly written original arrangements and three cover compositions. Special guest pianist Chick Corea and saxophonist Joe Lovano close out the album with the orchestra's singular Latin jazz reinterpretation of the Great American Songbook standard, "You And The Night And The Music." Spanish Harlem Orchestra showcases the real sound of authentic, New York salsa at its best. Full force instrumental precision is beautifully met with inimitable vocal prowess by singers Ray De La Paz, Marco Bermudez and Carlos Cascante. All pieces are first or second takes recorded with no click track; it’s simply the genre's foremost players churning out powerhouse salsa tracks. So, turn up the volume, open the windows, and put on your dancin' shoes 'cause the Spanish Harlem Orchestra is back with a slew of mesmerizing new tunes!
Spanish Harlem Orchestra's track record is undeniable, the band's four previous recordings have garnered two GRAMMY® Awards – for the 2005 release of Across 110th Street ("Best Salsa Album") and 2011's Viva La Tradicion ("Best Tropical Latin Album) – and two GRAMMY® nominations (2002's debut album, Un Gran Día En El Barrio; 2007's United We Swing). While steeped in preserving the musical legacy of NYC's Eastside community of El Barrio (located south of 125th Street), which gave rise to boogaloo, Latin soul, and salsa in the '50s and '60s, Oscar Hernandez propels the classics into the future with culturally rich compositions set within a 21st century context. He explores the dynamics of Latinos living in New York City for more than eight decades ("Asi Se Vive"), the romance of finding the love of your life ("Dulce Compañera"), poetic stories of hope ("Canción"), Caribbean people residing in the US ("Caribe Soy"), being proud of one's Latino heritage ("Latinos Unidos"), and honors the beauty of Latin women ("Que Lindas Son Las Latinas").
For the recording of only the second English song since the orchestra's debut album was released in 2002, Hernandez enlists two of today's biggest jazz stars, Chick Corea and Joe Lovano, to appear on Arthur Schwartz's "You And The Night And The Music." Hernandez notes, " I always wanted to record a standard from the Great American Songbook. A tune that Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra sang, and to put our unique Latin ting on it. Corea is one of the most prolific jazz musicians of all-time, so when he immediately said yes to work with us, I knew the song would take a direction that's never been done before." A similar unprecedented collaboration took place for the first English track they recorded with Paul Simon, "Late In The Evening," which was featured on United We Swing. At the time, Hernandez was working with Simon as the Musical Director for his Broadway play "The Capeman."
Spanish Harlem Orchestra pays homage to Manhattan's Palladium Ballroom – the famous '50s nightclub that's been dubbed "the home of the mambo" – with a re-creation of Tito Rodriguez's "This is Mambo." On the instrumental tip, Hernandez also pens a standout track "La Princesa," which is dedicated to his then 3 year-old daughter. On the track, swaying horns intermittently give way for trumpet, trombone, and conga solos while Hernandez's sublime piano work will get anyone up and dancing.
Over the past 12 years, Spanish Harlem Orchestra has solidified their place among Latin music's foremost bands. Whether on record or performing live, they've successfully set the highest bar for big band salsa while securing its vitality for future generations. From his Bronx roots and admiration for nearby Spanish Harlem, Hernandez's celebrated career has seen him perform/record with all of the Latin greats and beyond. A keen sensibility keeping the all-out salsa aesthetic true to its form, and consistently fashioning fresh new arrangements affords the Spanish Harlem Orchestra as standard bearers of contemporary Latin music.
Spanish Harlem Orchestra has appeared on many of the world's most acclaimed stages, including Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House, Chicago Jazz Festival, Playboy Jazz Festival, and they've performed across the globe in Singapore, Israel, Russia, and Hong Kong. Hernandez and select orchestra members also recently traveled to Paris to record with Africando, an exceptional group uniting New York's finest salsa artists with Senegalese vocalists.
To celebrate the national release of Spanish Harlem Orchestra's new album, Hernandez and his top-notch crew are set to perform at SOB's in New York City on September 29, 2014. For additional information on upcoming regional appearances across the country, please visit: http://www.spanishharlemorchestra.com/appearances.
ArtistShare®, which launched in 2003 as the Internet's first crowdfunding platform, uses an innovative model that connects fans with artists in order to share the creative process and fund the creation of new artistic works. ArtistShare® projects have received numerous awards and accolades including 9 GRAMMY® Awards and 18 GRAMMY® nominations. For more information, please visit: artistshare.com.
Jesse P. Cutler
JP Cutler Media