Spanish Harlem Orchestra
Yoshi's in San Francisco
The Spanish Harlem Orchestra performs Tuesday, Oct. 20, and Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., $16-$24; 655-5600 or www.yoshis.com.
The Spanish Harlem Orchestra is a labor of love for pianist and bandleader Oscar Hernández, a salsa veteran who has worked with Ruben Blades and was the musical director for Paul Simon's ill-fated Broadway show The Capeman. (Simon repaid him with a guest vocal turn on the Orchestra's 2007 release, United We Swing.) The band's music is explicitly, even militantly retro, a blaring throwback to the big New York salsa bands of the '60s and '70s led by Tito Puente and Machito as well as the Fania All-Stars. A jazz club with a dancefloor is an ideal venue for an orchestra meant to inspire and sustain movement.