Un Gran Dia en el Barrio

Spanish Harlem Orchestra

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Un Gran Dia en el Barrio Review

by Jesse Jarnow

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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