Oscar Hernández Quintet Performs Timeshift

by chipboaz on December 19, 2016

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Jazz ideas have informed salsa since its inception, creating a two way flow of ideas that have benefitted both styles of music. On every salsa album – in fact several times in most salsa albums – you’re going to find improvisation. While the harmonies are definitely more basic than jazz contexts, many musicians backing salsa singers have a jazz background; as a result, the rhythmic language of improvisation over salsa comes back into their Latin Jazz projects. A lot of salsa writers and arrangers also have jazz backgrounds, so that comes into the harmony and horn parts. You’ll hear repeated coro sections filled with seventh chords and mambos filled with bluesy lines – both of these come directly from a jazz context. Likewise, it’s not unusal to hear well know mambos quoted in Latin Jazz and pieces of songs to find their way back into jazz arrangements. The bottom line is that these musicians perform in both contexts, and the best of these musicians bring ideas back and forth between styles.

Pianist Oscar Hernández has been a major contributor to both Latin Jazz and salsa for many decades now; his presence has certainly been an important part of the musical flow between both styles. He helped reshape the sound of salsa in the seventies when he joined Ray Barretto’s band and helped create fusion tinged albums like RicanStruction and Fuerza Gigante. He transitioned from Barretto’s band into the role of musical director for Seis Del Solar, the backing band for Ruebén Baldes. This jazz heavy combo backed Blades in some innovative ways and also made their own mark as a well respected Latin Jazz group. Whether you hear Hernández on albums by Grupo Folklorico Experimental, Daniel Ponce, Mongo Santamaria, The Bronx Horns, Dave Valentin, or more, you’re going to hear a little bit of salsa and a little bit of jazz. That’s never more apparent than in Hernández’s current project, the world renown Spanish Harlem Orchestra. Today’s video features Hernández playing with his Latin Jazz group featuring heavy hitters like bassist Carlos Henriquez, percussionist Pedrito Martinez, and drummer Robby Ameen – it’s a pretty phenomenal display of a musician bringing all his experience into a serious Latin Jazz setting.

Do you have a Latin Jazz video to share? E-mail a link to latinjazzcorner@gmail.com

Check out recent Latin Jazz videos:
Mitch Frohman Latin Jazz Quartet Performing Mambo Sin Fronteras
Carlos Henriquez Performing The Bronx Pyramid
Pablo Aslan Playing Tango On The Grill: El Amanecer
The Next Generation Of Latin Jazz: The Curtis Brothers
Tito Puente, Charlie Palmieri, Ray Barretto, & Sal Cuevas Playing Picadillo

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