MusicLab Workshop Series with Oscar Hernández: 50 Years of Iconic Latin Music

October 8, 2020 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
$15 General; $10 Community Music Center students & faculty / seniors

MusicLab Workshop Series: Latin Jazz

This MusicLab workshop series brings you master Latin Jazz artists to share their experience in an interactive setting. You can learn, listen, practice, play and discuss online in real time in these online workshops hosted by Community Music Center in partnership with the Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble and MisterLatinJazz.

Dive in to Latin jazz and check out each of our exciting upcoming MusicLab workshops with incredible guest artists:


Oscar Hernández: 50 Years of Iconic Latin Music

When: Thursday, October 8, 5:30–7:00pm
Tickets: $15 General, $10 Community Music Center students & faculty / seniors
Purchase tickets here:
A note on ticket prices: If cost is a barrier to your participation in this workshop, contact Adriana Marrero,


Oscar Hernández has played with Latin music legends for decades, been musical director twice on Broadway, and has won four GRAMMYs with the Spanish Harlem Orchestra. Oscar will share insights about innovations within Latin music over the past 50 years drawing from his musical experiences with iconic groups such as Manny Oquendo y Su Conjunto Libre, Conjunto Folklórico y Experimental Nuevayorquino, Ray Barretto, Rubén Blades, Juan Luis Guerra, and most recently the Spanish Harlem Orchestra. He will discuss what gave each of these groups a signature sound including specific musical elements and/or how they related to the sociocultural landscape of their time.

This class will be formatted as a lecture/demonstration utilizing audio/video samples and with live demonstration and question/answers with Oscar Hernandez. Bring your questions for this rare opportunity to speak with a master!

This course will be conducted live via video conferencing. A computer or other device with a webcam and microphone and a reliable internet connection is required. Log-in information will be sent to students before the workshop.



Oscar Hernández is another great Puerto Rican from the Bronx. His DNA carries pure melaza in white skin and piercing blue-green eyes that belie his innate percussive rhythm and prodigious way of learning to play the piano. And yet, Oscar is very much de la mata, made of roots so strong as a survival substance that has made him a legend in his own terms and style.

His musical trajectory symbolizes the Spanish saying, plantar bandera. Meaning everywhere he goes he shines like Armstrong on the moon. From Baretto’s “Rican Struction,” to his tenure with Ruben Blades and Seis del Solar, to Spanish Harlem Orchestra and everything in between and after, Oscar stands.

Spanish Harlem Orchestra is a pinnacle of artistic symbolism. While there is indeed a place called “Spanish Harlem,” SHO transcends. The orchestra is about all the Spanish Harlems in the U.S. and beyond that carry legacy. In Oscar’s case music from the heart of the Afro-Caribbean ancestry that permeates the entire Northern and Southern American Continents. And this is grand. Music after all makes the people come together.

The Latin Jazz Project goes a step further in bringing people together. The Afro sounds of the Caribbean and American Jazz integrate like when you’re making bread. And the all-stars of The Latin Jazz Project fine-tuned an hour + of old meets new styles with the signature flair of SHO.

The Latin Jazz Project features Kurt Elling, Bob Franceschini, Tom Harrell, Jimmy Haslip, and Dave Liebman, Bob Mintzer, Jonathan Powell, Michael Rodriguez, and Miguel Zenón.

The usual suspects Marco Bermúdez, Doug Beavers, Noah Bless, Jeremy Bosch, Jorge Castro, Carlos Cascante, Hector Colón, Mitch Frohman, Jerry Madera, Luisito Quintero, Maneco Ruiz and are still on fire.

The Latin Jazz Project is beautiful and close to my heart are the tracks “Acid Rain,” “Invitation,” “Las Palmas,” and “Latin Perspective,” (cool as hades this tune). And perhaps closest still is “Silent Prayers,” lovely and probably because the times call for them, a lot of silent prayers if the world wants to survive. A few snakes have lazed apples with the most venomous poison to lure weak ones into bitting sin and bring down paradise, the only one we have.


Special thanks to our partners: Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble and MisterLatinJazz