[Podcast 1] Oscar Hernandez, Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Grammy Winning Bandleader

In this first episode Oscar Hernandez talks about his career as a small business owner in the music industry and entertainer.


Editor’s note: Carlos Garcia interviewed Oscar Hernandez for podcast part one of this three part podcast series. Find podcast 1 below. We wish to thank Tomas Algarin a respected latin music historian, educator, writer, radio producer, stage performer/concert Emcee and also a steadfast Latin Business Today collaborator who helped facilitate this spotlight on Oscar Hernanez. Enjoy! 

Oscar Hernandez

Oscar Hernandez

I recently had the distinct honor of spending some time with and then interviewing Oscar Hernandez, the leader of the Grammy-winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra.  Just prior to our interview I attended the Havana Nights concert tribute to Celia Cruz featuring Lily and the Miramar Orchestra with Oscar Hernandez as a featured performer at The Indian Wells Theater CSUSB Palm Desert Campus. Wow.

Oscar Hernandez - The Art of Jazz AlbumIn this first part of the interview Oscar introduces himself and his work, his travels and his accomplishments, and simply describes himself as “blessed.”  He is very excited about his Orchestra’s new recording , and he says the word of mouth is excellent. Overall, he is proud of the work he and his orchestra put into this effort.

The new recording is entitled Anniversary, and serves as a celebration of Spanish Harlem Orchestra’s 15 years of excellence.  This is their sixth recording, and of the first five, four were nominated for Grammy’s with two wins.

Oscar talks about the many factors that shaped his career, including how he started, how he became a pianist (he started as a trombonist), and how he learned his trade.

He also talks about the many influences that shaped his tastes, all the way from the masters like Tito Puente, Machito and Celia Cruz, through Latin Pop and the American music playing on the radio like Ray Charles, R&B, the Blues and Motown.

Oscar did something pretty remarkable for any artist – he turned professional at the ripe old age of 17.  So a lot of his education, as he explains, was in real time with established artists who helped him along.

He tells a funny story about the very first time he laid eyes on Celia Cruz.

A must listen!

He also goes into the lessons he learned about professional behavior from her and the other greats – it’s good to have a mentor, but it’s even better for the mentor to have a mentee who is listening and learning the important lessons.

We also discuss music, particularly the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, as a business start-up and what it takes to turn a good idea into a great career.  Oscar also goes into his motivations to go back to college long after turning pro to get a BA in music.

This is a great introduction to a great musician.

See Oscar Hernandez on Saturday, April 28, 2018 @ 8 p.m. at the Rialto Center for the Arts, Atlanta. Join MC  Tomas Algarin for a night of Salsa with Larry Harlow’s Latin Legends Band and special guest.  Larry Harlow completely revolutionized what is known today as Salsa, developing the explosive trumpet/trombone sound that has come to characterize the music. Join me, Tomas Algarin, for an unforgettable night of Ol’ Skool Salsa! You don’t want to miss this event.

Larry Harlow’s Latin Legends Band with Guest Oscar Hernandez

Saturday at 8 PM Rialto Center for the Arts in Atlanta, Georgia


Please find podcast 1 below.  Parts 2 and 3 to follow.

[player id=20044]
Related articles:

The Business of Music at RSL Studios with Tito Puente Jr. [Video]

The Business of Music: Tito Puente Jr. Spotlight Part 2 [Video]

A Conversation with Living Legend Eddie Palmieri [Video]

Latin Business Today Chats with Latin Jazz Legend Eddie Palmieri [podcast]

Latino Guitar Virtuoso, Argentinian Born, Hernan Romero [Video] 


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