The swinging bands of salsa flourishing with its big brass sound leaked out into the streets from social clubs to Bronx spots such as the Carlton Terrance and Concourse Plaza to Manhattan’s Corso and Riverside Plaza.
Happy feet moved swiftly as partners carried out complicated turns and assorted dance maneuvers to fierce trombone harmonies.
Movement was the order of the day when salsa was king and parking on the dance floor was a violation.
Salsa rules once again on Sundays now through Aug. 9, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., as Aurora and Zon del Barrio bring back that old-school “Sunday Afternoon Danzette” to Spanish Harlem. The event takes place at Julia de Burgos Performing Arts Center, located at 1680 Lexington Ave., between 105th and 106th streets. Admission is free. Food and drinks are for sale.
Zon del Barrio is one the few orchestras to express the varied genres of Latin music from the African Diaspora and the urban streets of New York. This house band says surprise guests will appear. Their repertoire varies salsa to boogaloo, plena and merengue.
Carmen Cepeda, Salsa Warriors’ DJ, will spin the classics at these Sunday afternoon soirees, where artists such as Larry Harlow, Eddie Palmieri, Alfredo “Chocolate” Armenteros, Harvey Averne and Nelson Gonzalez have been spotted. This group of veteran and young musicians is led by music journalist and historian Aurora Flores, with musical direction provided by David Fernandez, a multi-instrumentalist.
With original tunes penned by Flores, Zon del Barrio introduces the dynamic young vocals of Hector “Papote” Jimenez, an up-and-coming sonero of the 21st century who channels the spiritual voices and phrases of the great Latino singers, including Benny More, Ismael Rivera and Hector LaVoe.
Aurora and Zon del Barrio mixes old school with a pinch of new-school flavor, expressing the musical soul of the barrios in the style of Puerto Rico’s most popular exponent, Rafael Cortijo y su Combo. Cortijo’s band broke through the color barrier in Puerto Rico in the late 1950s, and Zon del Barrio is a tribute to those efforts and a celebration of Afro-Puertorican music.
For the most part, jazz is nighttime entertainment for the hipsters and real cool cats at late night gigs and jam sessions. Fortunately, those who don’t keep late hours but remain hip are welcomed to attend the Harlem Afternoon Jazz Series, held every Tuesday at Rendall Memorial Presbyterian Church (59 W. 137th St.). There are two sets, noon and 1 p.m. The price is $10 for senior citizens and $15 general admission.
Since its inception in November 2014, the series has hosted some of the top players in jazz. July 28, trombonist and composer Steve Swell will lead his quartet on an adventurous journey through the terrain of free jazz.
Aug. 4, trumpeter Ahmed Abdulla, a former music explorer with the Sun Ra Arkestra, will continue the tradition of pushing the jazz elements. Aug. 11, multi-reed player and composer Rene McLean, known for his hard bop style and inspired diversity from African and Eastern traditions, will perform with his quartet.
The Afternoon Jazz Series is artistically directed by the trombonist, arranger and longtime Harlem resident Craig S. Harris. Harris continues to keep jazz alive in Harlem while playing a major role in the avant-garde movement, having performed with such artists as Abdullah Ibrahim, David Murray and Muhal Richard Abrams.
Harris and co-founder Carolyn Johnson (of Welcome to Harlem) noted, “We wanted to have music in the Harlem community. The afternoon series includes tourists, employees from Harlem Hospital, the Schomburg and community residents.”
For a complete schedule, visit www.welcometoharlem.com.