By Herb Boyd | Published August 2022
Any album dedicated in part to the late Gonzalez brothers — Andy, whose bass lines bounced with a deep Latin flavor, and his brother, Jerry, a trumpeter and percussionist with flair — has a gold standard to achieve, and Imágenes Latinas by the Spanish Harlem Orchestra accomplishes this and muy mas. Each one of the 11 tracks is infused with lively toe-tapping, thigh-slapping tempos that require a highly disciplined urge not to leap from your seat and throw down a few private steps of salsa, mambo or cha-cha. “Llego La Hispanica,” composed and arranged by pianist Oscar Hernandez (also the album’s producer) is a feverish example of the ensemble’s way of conjuring the Gonzalez beat, and this becomes all the more apparent on “Mambo 2021,” where Jeremy Bosch’s flute blends wonderfully and alternately with Mitch Frohman’s baritone saxophone licks. The trumpets of Alex Norris and Manuel “Maneco” Ruiz contribute brilliant, sizzling interludes that pushes the song to another level of intensity. And then Hernandez’s piano solo tastefully augments a track that is brimming with images of a summer stroll through East Harlem. “Como Te Amo” slows things down, and the vocalization here, rendered by Marco Bermudez, Carlos Cascante and Bosch is as harmonically tight as the instruments.
Imágenes Latinas: Llego La Hispanica; Imágenes Latinas; Vestido De Flores; De Mi Para Ti; Romance Divino; Como Te Amo; Mambo 2021; Sentimiento y Son; Cuando La Hispanica Toca; Mi Amor Sincero; La Musica Latina. (55:86)
Personnel: Oscar Hernandez, piano; Marco Bermudez, vocals, cora; Carlos Cascante, vocals, cora; Jeremy Bosch, vocals, flute; Manuel “Maneco” Ruiz, Alex Norris, trumpet; Doug Beavers, Juan Gabriel Lakunza, trombone; Mitch Frohman, baritone sax, flute; Luiusito Quintero, timbales, maracas, guiro; George Delgado, congas; Jorge Gonzalez, congas; Jerry Madera, bass.
Ordering Info: ovation-records.com