Larry Harlow, Legendary Salsa Musician And Producer, Has Died At 82 : NPR

Larry Harlow at the 2008 Latin Grammy awards in Houston, Texas.

Michael Buckner/Getty Photos


cover caption

toggle caption

Michael Buckner/Getty Illustrations or photos


Larry Harlow at the 2008 Latin Grammy awards in Houston, Texas.

Michael Buckner/Getty Photographs

Larry Harlow, a pianist, arranger, producer and activist who assisted to popularize salsa in the U.S., died early Friday morning of heart failure. His loss of life was confirmed by spouse and children associates, who mentioned that he experienced been hospitalized for kidney troubles. He was 82.

Recognised affectionately to his followers and fellow musicians as El judío maravilloso (“The Marvelous Jew”), Harlow was the only non-Latino between the fabled secure of bandleaders on the Fania Documents label. He was elevated Lawrence Ira Kahn to a Brooklyn Jewish musical loved ones, but earned his superlative by researching Afro-Cuban tunes in Havana in the late 1950s, leaving just as the Cuban Revolution took above the state in 1959.

In interviews Harlow has mentioned he was the first artist signed to Fania, a fledgling document corporation that would come to be a musical and cultural juggernaut of Afro-Caribbean dance new music for virtually two many years. Harlow was a multi-instrumentalist, acquiring studied at the famed New York Significant Faculty of Tunes and Arts, and his vast musical awareness was identified as on as he produced of about 250 albums for other artists, as perfectly as 50 for his individual Orquesta Harlow.

Among the his a lot of firsts was his 1972 salsa opera, Hommy, patterned following the Who’s well-known rock opera, Tommy. It informed the story of a deaf and blind young gentleman who had a certain talent for Afro-Cuban percussion. The album is credited with reviving the job of Celia Cruz, whose effectiveness on the keep track of “Gracia Divina” catapulted her to around the world stardom and icon position. Harlow staged two offered-out performances of Hommy at Carnegie Corridor a year later on, showcasing many of the stars on the album. Lincoln Heart mounted a revival of the work in 2014.

In a 2009 interview with the Americas Society/Council of the Americas, Harlow discussed how his starting to be a santero in the Afro Cuban religious custom known as Santería in 1975 laid to relaxation any thought of his non-Latino status amid his peers and fans. In point he entirely embraced his bicultural existence when he named his 1975 album immediately after the affectionate nickname he had now earned: El Judio Maravilloso.

Amongst the hundreds of musicians Harlow generated or recorded with ended up his brother, multi-instrumentalist Andy Harlow, and the Fania All Stars, a celebrity assortment of the label’s prime bandleaders.

Harlow was identified for his prodigious jazz piano talent, and mixing that prowess with Afro-Caribbean tradition became his musical calling card. He was no stranger to experimentation, incorporating R&B and funk into his music, and utilizing electronic keyboard appears on his later recordings. In 2005 Harlow achieved an completely new viewers when he collaborated with option-rock band The Mars Volta on its 2nd LP, Frances the Mute, and appeared are living with the group on choose situations just after its release.

Past his function as an artist and producer, Harlow was a tireless advocate for Latin musicians. He championed their good representation at the Grammy Awards, and was himself offered with the Trustees Award throughout the 2008 Latin Grammy award ceremony.

Up until eventually soon just before he fell ill, Harlow continued to execute with a team of Fania legacy artists, as well as his individual bands, all of which featured youthful talents he individually experienced selected to mentor.