Best Of Both Coasts: Oscar Hernandez & Alma Libre Performing Live

by chipboaz on May 16, 2017

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There’s great Latin Jazz traditions that originated on the East Coast and the West Coast, and both have beautiful elements. For better or for worse, there’s also lots of talk about the pros and cons of each scene. Some people consider the East Coast the true home of the tradition while others favor the West Coast for their adventurous spirit. At the end of the day, it’s all great music with different influences blending into the overall product. There’s great stuff coming from both sides of the country. When we put all arguments aside, the best Latin Jazz comes when musicians bring in elements from both the East and West Coast traditions.

Bringing the best of the coasts together into one coherent package is a tall order, but there’s one musician that has done an outstanding job at making it all work – pianist Oscar Hernandéz. Starting his career on the East coast, Hernandéz honed his craft working with some of the best musicians in Latin music, including Ray Barretto and Rueben Baldés. Along the way, he helped defined some of the genre’s most important music, bringing together jazz and salsa into a potent mix. When Hernandéz moved to the West Coast, he brought that experience and knowledge with him and an open mind towards new ideas. This attitude led to connections with new musicians, the stellar success of Hernandéz’s salsa project The Spanish Harlem Orchestra, and the creation of Alma Libre. This new group brings compositions and musical leadership from Hernandéz together with top notch performances from saxophonist Justo Almario, drummer Jimmy Branly, conguero Christian Moraga, and more. The results can be heard on their fantastic new album, The Art of Latin Jazz, a must-hear release. Today’s video feature shows them playing live in a somewhat shaky video that captures an excellent performance!

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Check out recent Latin Jazz videos:
The Art Of The Trio: Baden From Trio da Paz
A Bright Future For Dominican Jazz: Josean Jacobo y Tumbao Performing La Maña
Mari Nobre & Nobresil Performing Fascinating Rhythm
Exploring Infinite Possibilities: Gonzalo Rubalcaba & Ignacio Berroa Playing Caravan
Manuel Valera Trio Performing Spiral

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