Larry Harlow is a living legend of Afro-Cuban music. Though jazz and the piano stylings of Art Tatum were the first loves of this Brooklyn native, the music and culture of the New York Latino community fascinated him. After graduating from the famed LaGuardia High School of Music and Art, he traveled to Cuba in the late 1950s and began a two-year adventure studying Afro-Cuban music in all its manifestations. On his return to New York he quickly made a name for himself as a top bandleader and was signed by the new Fania record company.
"El Judio Maravilloso," as he is affectionately called, revolutionized what is known today as "salsa," developing the explosive sound of the early-'70s bands. He studied audio engineering at the Institute of Audio Research and produced over 260 albums for Fania alone. Harlow is also the producer/pianist for the legendary Fania All-Stars, which spread clave consciousness the world over. He coproduced, wrote music for, and starred in Our Latin Thing and Salsa, two of the definitive documentaries on Afro-Cuban music in New York City. In 2003, Harlow's Latin Jazz Encounter released the album Live at Birdland, beginning a new phase in his career. He is currently touring with his new Latin Legends Band.
As a governor of the New York chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Harlow emphasized the role of Latin musicians. He received the Grammy Trustees Award in 2008 and was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame in 2000.
Harlow holds a B.A. in music from Brooklyn College and a master's degree in philosophy from the New School of Social Research. He regularly lectures and conducts residencies at Harvard, Yale, and the California state universities.
Tonight, with a Berklee student group produced by Oscar Stagnaro and conducted by Matt Nicholl, Harlow will perform his classic salsa and Afro-Cuban hits.