Spanish Harlem Orchestra Anniversary Nominated for
Best Tropical Latin Album at the 61st Annual GRAMMY® Awards
On Friday, December 7th, it was announced that 2x GRAMMY® Award winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra received a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Tropical Latin Album for Anniversary. Released in April on ArtistShare, their aptly titled sixth album celebrates the all-star salsa big band’s 15-year anniversary and demonstrates why they are the “the leading light of the salsa reconstruction movement” (Newsday).
This is the fifth nomination for the ensemble. Previous nominations including Best Salsa Album for Un Gran Día En El Barrio (2002) and Best Tropical Latin Album for United We Swing (2007). In 2004, Spanish Harlem Orchestra won their first GRAMMY® in the Best Salsa/Merengue Album category for Across 110th Street. In 2010, the group won Best Tropical Latin Album for Viva La Tradición.
“I’m so proud to represent the best of our Latin culture through our music,” says Oscar Hernández, Musical Director of Spanish Harlem Orchestra, adding, “This nomination is a huge honor and privilege as we continue to work toward putting this music on its deserved pedestal, especially in light of the music’s legacy and amazing history.”
Since their inception 15 years ago, Spanish Harlem Orchestra (SHO), under the direction of pianist, composer and arranger Oscar Hernández, has earned its reputation as the true voice of the barrio with intricate arrangements and pulsating rhythms that are steeped in the authentic salsa tradition. Their high-energy performances have delighted audiences across the globe from Asia to Australia, from Latin America to Europe. Grounded in the past, but with a focused eye on the future, Spanish Harlem Orchestra continues to play an integral role in ensuring salsa dura (“hard salsa”) is not just alive, but a thriving musical force. “Over the course of 15 years, the consistent thread in each of our records has been the hardcore rhythm, sophisticated arrangements and a lot of care toward producing quality music with high integrity for our genre,” says Hernández.
Each member of Spanish Harlem Orchestra has a significant connection to the authentic salsa tradition. It begins with Hernández, who has long been considered one of the most prominent musicians on the Latin, salsa and Latin-jazz music scene. Hernández’s musical legacy can be traced back to the 1970’s, a time in which he performed with a who’s who of salsa legends including Tito Puente, Machito, Celia Cruz, Ray Barretto, Rubén Blades, Conjunto Libre, and Willie Colon. Later, Hernández went on to become the Musical Director for Paul Simon as well as the orchestrator and arranger for Gloria Estefan.
Produced by Hernández and co-produced by SHO trombonist and 2018 GRAMMY® Nominee Doug Beavers, Anniversary builds on the dynamic legacy built by their previous five releases. Considered “virtuosic journeymen who are one of New York’s great musical resources” (The New York Times), SHO has expanded greatly from their home turf of Harlem to some of the world’s premiere stages including the Sydney Opera House, The Edmonton Jazz Festival, the Playboy Jazz Festival, Carnegie Hall, and many others. Anniversary has received worldwide acclaim from prominent outlets such as Downbeat Magazine, Jazzwise, Jazz Journal, New York City Jazz Record, The Mercury News, Edmonton Journal, KCRW, and others.
The nomination punctuates a landmark year for Spanish Harlem Orchestra. After releasing Anniversary to worldwide acclaim, the ensemble maintained a vigorous touring schedule that brought them across the country, and the world. After performing at numerous Canadian jazz festivals, SHO performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival to present Monterey Encounter (A Latin Jazz Suite for Flute), a special commissioned piece written by Oscar Hernández, featuring NEA Jazz Master Hubert Laws.
This year’s GRAMMY® nominees were selected from more than 21,000 submissions across 84 categories, and reflect the wide range of artistic innovation that defined the year in music (Oct. 1, 2017–Sept. 30, 2018). As the only peer-selected music award, the GRAMMY Awards® are voted on by the Recording Academy’s membership body of music makers, who represent all genres and creative disciplines, including recording artists, songwriters, producers, mixers, and engineers.
The final round of GRAMMY voting is Dec. 13, 2018–Jan 9, 2019. The Recording Academy will present the GRAMMY Awards on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, live from Los Angeles’ STAPLES Center and broadcast on the CBS Television Network from 8:00–11:30 p.m. ET/5:00–8:30 p.m. PT.