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Spanish Harlem Orchestra 

Wednesday, Oct 14 2009

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.

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Phil Freeman


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