United We Swing (Dig)
Spanish Harlem Orchestra's United We Swing does more than just make you want to dance. The joyous collection will likely incite a full-scale house party, complete with flowy dresses, sparkly jewelry, and silky, unbuttoned shirts. The disc plays like an actual live performance, a tight mix of passion and precision. Bandleader Oscar Hernandez even introduces the entire outfit on the opening track. Horns blare, percussion pulses, and a voice of choruses guides several numbers. If nothing else, take a listen to the trio of "Sacala Bailar," "Ahora Si," and "Que Bonito," which comes midway through the disc, for an idea of SHO's sparkling seamlessness. "Danzon For My Father" is a touching instrumental tribute, and the bilingual "Late in the Evening-Tarde en la Noche" features an inspired guest spot by Paul Simon, who matches the group's swelling enthusiasm. Swing does just that--and so much more. --Joey Guerra
Since their arrival in 2000, Spanish Harlem Orchestra (SHO) has established itself as a standard bearer of contemporary Latin music. Directed by world-renowned pianist, arranger, and producer Oscar Hern ndez, the thirteen-member all-star ensemble has reintroduced the classic sounds of New York City Salsa to the Latin market and music lovers worldwide. United We Swing, SHO's third album, is a stunning new collection of infectious Latin music following their 2004 Grammy award-winning album Across 110th St., and their 2002 Grammy nominated debut, Un Gran D¡a En El Barrio. United We Swing continues in the same vein as previous Spanish Harlem Orchestra albums with more of an emphasis on original material. With nine original songs, the band has forged a unique identity, built on a musical foundation laid down by El Barrio (a pulsating Eastside community in NYC located to the south of 125th St) icons Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, and Machito. Paul Simon is featured as a special guest on a cover of Late in the Evening/Tarde en la Noche.
El CD es evocador de muchos grandes grupos latinos de Nueva York en los días tempranos de Salsa. Los 3 cantantes son fantásticos y los componentes de la orchestra son muy tradicional. 3 trompetas, 2 trombones y un saxophone barítono componen la section de instrumentos de aire. El resto del grupo se compone de conga, bongos y timbales más un competente tocador del bajo y el líder extrordinario en piano. SHO tiene un sonido muy agradable, enfrentado por 3 vocalists. Tuve el placer de ver a SHO en vivo en la Universidad de Maryland ayer y fueron enérgtico en persona que en el álbum, que sí mismo es muy dinámico. Este es un tremendo CD para cualquiera que le guste la Salsa tradicional con excelente vocales.
The CD is exhilarating and reminiscent of many great Latin groups from New York in the early days of Salsa. The 3 singers are fantastic and the orchestration is very traditional. 3 trumpets, 2 slide trombones and a baritone saxophone make up the "loud" section. The rest of the group is made up of 3 excellent percussionists (conga, bongos and timbales) plus a good base player and the leader on piano. Overall, SHO has a very nice, full and rich sound led by the 3 vocalists. I had the pleasure of seeing SHO live at the University of Maryland and they were even more energetic in person than on the album, which itself is very dynamic. This is a good CD for anyone to have in their collection if they enjoy older style salsa with excellent vocals.