A Latin les­son from the Mar­vel­lous Jew

Lar­ryHar­low proves he is a true salsa leg­end. By DavidLasser­son

The Jewish Chronicle - - ARTS&BOOKS - LARRY HAR­LOW’S LATIN LEG­ENDS OF FA­NIA Round­house, Lon­don NW1

STAND­ING TALL among the il­lus­tri­ous names of New York Latin mu­sic is Larry Har­low, a pi­anist, com­poser and ar­ranger who was born Lawrence Ira Kahn to a Amer­i­can-Jewish fam­ily in a Puerto Ri­can neigh­bour­hood of New York City. His Latin mu­si­cal col­leagues dubbed him “ El Ju­dio Maravilloso” — the mar­vel­lous Jew. He has recorded 50 al­bums for the spe­cial­ist Fa­nia la­bel un­der his own name, and col­lab­o­rated on more than 100 oth­ers.

A well-at­tended Round­house gave Har­low and his orches­tra a warm Lon­don re­cep­tion, al­though it no doubt paled against the foot­ball sta­dia he used to sell out in South Amer­ica in the ’70s. The venue’s boomy acous­tics lost some of the de­tail of Har­low’s dis­tinc­tive sax-plus-trum­pets or­ches­tra­tion, but the ec­static danc­ing cou­ples all over the dance­floor hardly minded. Spin­ning and turn­ing t o in­fec­tious favourites like Qui­tate Tu (Get Lost) and Yo Soy Latino (I am Latino), they could also ap­pre­ci­ate the high­level im­pro­vis­ing of an all-star line up, in­clud­ing the oc­ca­sional sur­prise vi­o­lin solo from trom­bon­ist Lewis Kahn. Di­rect­ing from the key­board, Har­low’s be­nign pres­ence sug­gested a man sur­rounded by his old­est friends, as he coaxed win­ning so­los out of each band mem­ber in turn.

Har­low’s Aus­trian fa­ther played in a cov­ers band in New York’s Latin quar­ter from the 1940s, and the young Larry was sent to high school in the mid­dle of Span­ish Har­lem, where he heard Latin rhythms ev­ery day. Un­able to break into jazz (“I wasn’t a drug ad­dict or an African Amer­i­can”), he mi­grated to the clos­est mu­sic that al­lowed him to im­pro­vise. In dis­cov­er­ing each other, he and the world of Latin mu­sic did each other a great favour.

Larry Har­low per­form­ing at Lon­don’s Round­house

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.