Spanish Harlem Orchestra

Spanish Harlem Orchestra is the award-winning Salsa and Latin Jazz group that has won two Grammys. It sets the standard for quality in authentic, New York-style, hard-core salsa. It’s the best live and recorded salsa you will ever hear. They are relentless, no matter if they’re at your concert hall or outdoor jazz festival. The energy they bring to the stage, their rich sound and musical precision will leave audiences spellbound until the last note is played. 13 world-class musicians and singers combine their talents to create an unforgettable musical experience. SHO, as it is known, has been around for fourteen years. Its mission is to preserve the sounds of the barrio. Their music has a raw, organic, and vintage sound that is typical of the genre. They have a mission to preserve the music of salsa dura “hard salsa” and to expand their audience to people who enjoy great music. They are grounded in the past and focused on the future. Their goal is to preserve the relevance of the music while introducing a new approach. This Latin Jazz powerhouse has four albums and received as many Grammy nominations. They know it is important to keep pushing themselves and raising the bar. Their fifth album will be released in May 2014. After twenty years of recording sessions, composition, arranging, and producing, Oscar Hernandez was approached in 2000 by Aaron Levinson about the idea to record a Latin jazz orchestra. Un Gran Dia en el Barrio was the Spanish Harlem Orchestra’s 2002 debut album. It received a Grammy nomination and a Latin Billboard Award as Salsa Album Of The Year. After the success of their debut CD, Hernandez and SHO started touring the world and wowing audiences. Their second album, Across 110th street, won them their first Grammy in 2004. This was a reference to Harlem’s southern border. The combination featured Ruben Blades as guest artists and Blades singing the Salsa Dura style that many of his fans wanted to hear. United We Swing was released in 2007 and received another Grammy nomination. Paul Simon sings a rousing rendition of “Late in the Evening” as a special guest on the album — SHO style. Their second Grammy-winning album, Viva La Tradicion was released in 2010. Oscar Hernandez, the band leader, is all about tradition. His cultural musical sensibilities were shaped by the Spanish Harlem neighborhood, where he was born to a large Puerto Rican family. This bustling neighborhood in the 1960s was soundtracked by a mixture of Latin Jazz and American Pop Radio. Hernandez began playing the trumpet when he was twelve years old. He switched to piano in his twenties. He was a professional musician by the time he reached his teens and was gigging with some the best Latin Jazz musicians of the 1970s. While he was producing, arranging, and playing piano for Panamanian singer Ruben Blades, he also led his own band, Seis del Solar. He produced “Dance City”, a 90’s recording that received rave reviews in the NY Times. This record led Paul Simon to name him arranger/producer.

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