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The Spanish Harlem Orchestra Brings La Fiesta to Afternoon Jazz

Spanish Harlem Orchestra at WBGO
Ab McNeely

Oscar Hernandez is the musical director of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra - but it wasn't his idea to form the band. Producer Aaron Levinson approached the pianist almost two decades ago with the idea of assembling and recording a Latin jazz orchestra. They did just that, but the album sat on the shelf for more than a year and the future of the group was uncertain. When the album finally was picked up and released by Ropeadope records, it quickly garnered attention - and a Grammy nomination for Best Salsa Album. The rest, as they say, is history; the band has gone on to win three Grammy awards.

Hernandez says the Spanish Harlem Orchestra is proud to carry on the legacy of the giants in Latin music, including Tito Puente and Ray Baretto - both of whom he's played with - and it's evident in their latest album, Anniversary.

The Spanish Harlem Orchestra performs Sunday, August 18th as part of the Jazz in the Valley in Poughkeepsie, NY. We were fortunate to have the stop by and perform on Afternoon Jazz.

La Fiesta Empezo
Echa Pa’Lante 
Yo Te Prometo
Somos Uno

Oscar Hernandez: piano, leader; Marco Bermudez: lead vocal, chorus; Carlos Cascante: lead vocal, chorus; Jeremy Bosch: lead vocal, chorus; Anibal Martinez: trumpet; Hector Colon: trumpet; Doug Beavers: trombone; Noah Bless: trombone; Mitch Frohman: baritone sax, flute; Daniel Antonetti: timbales; George Delgado: congas; Jorge Gonzalez: bongos, maracas, guiro; Gerardo “Jerry” Madera: bass

Corey Goldberg, audio mix