Oscar Hernandez & Alma Libre

Love the Moment



iTunes - $9.90

MUSIC REVIEW BY Jaime Torres Torres, National Foundation for Popular Culture (Puerto Rico)


Define jazz as one of the most beautiful expressions of art.

Developed as a musician in New York, it was inevitable that, parallel to salsa, jazz would awaken his interest early, especially when he collaborated with Ray Barretto and Dave Valent'n, who were transiting the genre.

After a career with Ismael Miranda & La Revelación, Libre, the Folkloric and Experimental Group, Barretto and Rubén Blades, among others, they did not miss the two Latin jazz and fusion albums he made with Six del Solar: "Decision" and "Alternate Roots "

Nor was it surprising that in the workshop at the head of the Hispanic Orchestra of the Neighborhood he invited the saxophonist Joe Lovano and the pianist Chick Corea to the album recorded in 2014.

In 2017 he presented the concept "The Art Of Latin Jazz" and as recent as three weeks ago he premiered the new Latin jazz album "Love The Moment" with his quintet Alma Libre, confirmation of the indissoluble link of pianist and composer Oscar Hernández with the syncopated expression.

"Latin jazz has always been part of my work, apart from being known as a pianist, arranger and conductor, now with my own Spanish Harlem orchestra. When I was born and raised in New York, I was exposed to the music of so many protagonists of the environment. One as a musician cannot avoid hearing this genre and being able to get involved. This is another opportunity to develop and stand out as a pianist and composer, "Oscar replies by clarifying that his knowledge of the expression confirms his ease of composition, since the dozen works of" Love The Moment "are original, like the homonymous work and "Another level", "Latino Jazz", "Danzón For Lisa", "My song is for you", "Silent Prayers", "Alternate Roots" (which coined from his second album with Six of the Solar), "Feeling of love "," Groove For Peace "and" Mindful Thoughts ".

When talking about jazz, Oscar acknowledges, Afro-Caribbean culture offers unlimited possibilities for experimentation and innovation. "There are so many possibilities of musical risks in many ways. It's very nice to see how different artists develop and stand out in terms of composition. "

Cohesion achieved without difficulty with the musicians of Alma Libre: sax Justo Almario, bassist Oskar Cartaya, percussionist Christian Moraga and drummer Jimmy Branly.

"It is an international group. Just is from Colombia; Jimmy from Havana; Oskar, from Puerto Rico; Christian is from Santiago de Chile and the guests Dayren Santamar'a and Gilbert Castellanos are from Cuba and Mexico. Everyone lives here in Los Angeles, where I reside for 12 years. They are one of the best musicians here and I like being able to record with them because they do know this genre, "explains the artist recognized with three Grammy for his albums with the Spanish Harlem Orchestra.

Entering his creative process in jazz, Oscar indicates that the formula is simple and that, somehow, it is facilitated by the programs or applications of composition.

"It's something natural that I've been doing for years. Now, as things are done on the computer, I sit down with the composing program and start adding ideas. Sometimes there is a line that I want to investigate, of a rhythm or a harmonic idea, and I begin and as I begin, it develops, sometimes in one or two hours, or from one day to another. I'm pretty fast after I start an idea. I have to thank the Lord because he gives me the talent to do it. There are ten original compositions of mine and the reviews have been very beautiful. "

Relevant and revealing, on the other hand, is the support Oscar receives from the company Origin Records, which has released the album with the financial backing of the cultural institutions Chamber Music America's New Jazz Works and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

"They are organizations that care about supporting and promoting artists that they believe are worthy of their support. It is a pleasure that these people take the time to choose me as an artist to support and help economically. They are very prestigious organizations that do a great job in jazz. "

With the album "Love The Moment" in his hands, now Oscar Hernández longs to return to Puerto Rico with his quintet Alma Libre.

"Would be a dream. I would like to visit the Island again with my Spanish Harlem orchestra, one of the best bands of our music and not said by me. If it's not with Spanish Harlem, I'd like to go with my quintet. It would be a great dream. If it's for a jazz festival and they call me, I'm here to order. "

The album "Love The Moment" is available on portals specialized in music on the Internet.

"I ask that you support art. For one to continue doing this, it is important that people support these jobs. I have received a lot of support in the North American and world environment. Now we need the support of Latinos. It is important that Latinos support each other. "





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