If the Spanish Harlem Orchestra are, as the promo copy suggests, "Harlem's answer to Cuba's Buena Vista Social Club," then Un Gran Dia en el Barrio is the soundtrack to a sweaty summer party in the city. One can almost hear the music and beats reverberating off the cement as they come curling out of a streetside window. The disc documents the salsa music native to upper Manhattan's Spanish Harlem and presents the music's tightly entwined grooves -- synchronized horn lines twisting over syncopated rhythms -- with enough fidelity for clarity and sufficient warmth for liveliness. Pianist Oscar Hernandez serves as bandleader to the dozen or so veteran musicians who make up the effortlessly grooving band.
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AllMusic Review by Jesse Jarnow