“The Monterey Jazz Festival is proud to present its annual commission piece in 2018, Monterey Encounter (A Latin Jazz Suite for Flute) with special guest Hubert Laws, composed and performed by the world-renowned Oscar Hernández & the Spanish Harlem Orchestra. This two-time Grammy-winning ensemble is the one of the premier New York-style, “hard salsa” groups in the world, and will feature the NEA Jazz Master Hubert Laws as a soloist. Don’t miss them in the Arena, they are back at Monterey for the first time since 2005!”
“**** The 13-piece all-star salsa big band Spanish Harlem Orchestra celebrates their 15-year anniversary in grand style with Anniversary, their sixth studio album. Champions of salsa dura ("hard salsa"), this is a band whose technical skill is matched only by their consistent high energy. They have three lead vocalists, so the chorus singing is also very high quality—an essential part of a strong salsa performance. Opener "Esa Nena" is a fine introduction to the group's body-shaking groove, and the program rarely lets up after that.”
I’ve followed the career of Oscar Hernández for over 30 years, beginning with his work as pianist and arranger for Rubén Blades’s brilliant and still-timely album Buscando America (Searching for America). Fifteen years ago, the Bronx-born Hernández founded the 13-piece outfit known as the Spanish Harlem Orchestra (SHO), an incredible tropical Latin big band which has won two Grammy awards and tours throughout the world.