Spanish Harlem Orchestra: Spanish Harlem Orchestra

Jeff Tamarkin on November 5, 2014

Let’s skip right ahead to the final song on the Spanish Harlem Orchestra’s new self-titled album: “You and the Night and the Music” is a standard, written by Arthur Schwartz in 1934, that has been interpreted by all manner of artists from Frank Sinatra to Sun Ra. Only the second English-language song to be recorded by the Grammy-winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra, it gets a sparkling uptempo treatment here, aided by exhilarating solos from saxophonist Joe Lovano and Chick Corea guesting on piano. But by the time you’ve reached it, you might already be exhausted. The 11 preceding tracks by this decidedly old-school-but-contemporary, 13-piece New York-centric salsa group are all performed with buckets of fire and heart. Led by the supremely gifted pianist/arranger Oscar Hernandez, the SHO is accessible without watering down the essence of this classic music. Instrumental and vocal expertise permeates, the polyrhythms never let up and the universality of it is clear. Bet you can’t not dance to it.

Artist: Spanish Harlem Orchestra
Album: Spanish Harlem Orchestra
Label: Artistshare