SonSublime is a Cuban Charanga orchestra based in the New York City area, playing the classic styles of Danzón, Cha-Cha-Cha and Son. SonSublime embraces these classic styles and enhances them with a fresh, energetic sound adored by young and mature dancers alike.
Jesse Herrero, born in Santiago de Cuba, has led the band to new heights while maintaining the classical traditions of his native land. Herrero's singing career began with Mike Perez, one of the key members of SonSublime. In 1972 Jesse joined forces with Mike and his band, Tipica New York. In 1973, legendary, virtuoso Felix (Pupi) Legarretta, violinist, flautist, composer, arranger and a member of the Fania All Stars recruited Jesse into his band, Pupi y Su Charanga.
With the support of his friends, club owners and promoters, in 1975, Jesse Herrero launched his exciting young swinging Charanga band in New York City, under the name Sublime. The “Big Apple” falls in love with Sublime’s sound. In 1977 Jesse received a recording contract from TR Records, whose owner was the late Tito Rodriguez, a legendary singer and orchestra leader. Their first hit "Coqueta" put Sublime on top of the New York City Latin music scene. In 1979 Sublime recorded with TTH Recording Inc. (Ten Top Hits) bringing another radio hit by Herrero’s composition “El Mujeriego”.
Sublime became well established in the music industry. Cuban singer and businessman, Roberto Torres decided to record Jesse Herrero’s Sublime with his label SAR - Guajiro Records. Under SAR - Guajiro Records, Roberto Torres produced “Simplemente” Sublime and “Masitas de Pollo”, another song written by Jesse Herrero, was born. After ten glorious years of bringing great Charanga music to the scene, Jesse officially dissolved the band in 1985 to pursue other interests in the world of finance.
Fifteen years later in the year 2000, after much encouragement from musicians and friends, the group reformed as SonSublime. In March 2001, Jesse Herrero’s own recording label, LASEMCo., released its first recording "Irresistible” under the new name, SonSublime. This was followed by their second recording, the classic "Gran Reserva”, which was released in October 2002.
On May 6, 2006 LASEMCo. released SonSublime's third CD entitled "Bailando con SonSublime”.
Numerous clubs in New York City, including Webster Hall, Bongo, West Gate Lounge, Winners Circle, S.O.B’s, Club Tribecca and The Wild Palm, host and continue to host SonSublime. Former venues include La Maganette, La Belle Epoque, Nells, Le Bar Bat, The Village Underground and Noche. Albert Torres, promoter and founder of the International Salsa Congress on the West Coast hosts SonSublime in California. The orchestra performed at numerous festivals including The Hudson River Festival, El Festival Latino by Music in the Air in Columbus, Ohio and the Cityfolk Festival in Dayton, Ohio and the annual La Fiesta del Mamoncillo. SonSublime performed at Lincoln Center’s outdoor concert, Mid-Summer Night Swing. They have also appeared in concert at Town Hall in Manhattan and at Lasdon Park & Arboretum in Somers, New York.
SonSublime maintains the rhythmic foundation of the original Cuban Son combined with intricate arrangements and orchestration to create an energetic, robust New York City sound that relates to all Latin American cultures. "My objective is to keep the Cuban Charanga tradition alive for dancers all over the world", says Herrero. By preserving the essence of this Cuban musical style, SonSublime is also committed to educating music aficionados of all ages and cultures. They invite you to join them in this noble effort.
SonSublime’s orchestration is as follows:
The strong rhythm section is anchored by veteran Gilberto Suarez, pianist and former leader of the Hi-Latins and La Tipica Ideal Orchestras. Bassist, Marino Solano, was previously a member El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, Rafael Cortijo, Primitivo Santos, Roberto Torres' S.A.R. All Stars, Charanga De La 4, Orquestra Broadway and Jose Fajardo.
Joining this solid rhythm section are original band members from Jesse Herrero’s previous band, Sublime. Joe Gonzalez on Conga drums is veteran of the group Saoco. Manuel Rivera on Timbales and Bongos, began his music career playing Bongo in a Latin workshop band in 1973, which eventually became Orquesta Yambú. Jesse Herrero, besides leading the band, adds an essential component to the rhythm section with the Cuban guiro and is also one of the lead vocalists.
On violin is Dr. Mike Perez, native of La Habana, Cuba. Mike Perez earned his Doctorate from the University of Texas and was also the founder of Tipica New York. He has been a member of Orquesta Aragón, Broadway and Charanga '76. Joining Mike Perez on violin is Colombian born Oscar Hernandez. Mr. Hernandez was raised in Venezuela where he obtained a Masters Degree in Music Education. He is also an accomplished classical musician.
New York born flutist, Connie Grossman earned a BFA in Flute Performance and a MAT in Music Education. She has performed throughout the U.S. and abroad and has studied and performed in Cuba. She performs as a Latin jazz and classical soloist, and during her career has recorded with Yomo Toro, Charanson, The Latin Jazz Coalition, Companhia das Musicas, and Pasión. In SonSublime’s recordings, Grossman demonstrates superb technical ability and a command of the Cuban genre that few flautists possess.
Gilberto Velasquez joins Jesse Herrero on vocals. Mr. Velasquez was born in New York and is of Cuban and Puerto Rican descent. Gilberto has a remarkable range as a vocalist that adds great strength to SonSublime’s vocal section. The song “Mi Charanga” on Bailando con SonSublime’s CD was composed by Gilberto Velazquez. Gilberto and Jesse’s harmony creates the unique and attractive sound of SonSublime.
Some editorial reviews about The CD “Bailando con SonSublime”:
THE MAGIC OF THE BAND
They have a sound as fresh and as deep-rooted as sugar cane. A fluke? Not likely. Not if they are SonSublime. Not after a first pair of ground-breaking CD’s under their belt. And it should not surprise us. Because SonSublime is not just another Cuban charanga orchestra based in New York City. Yes, like many other bands, they play danzón, cha-cha-chá and son. Yet SonSublime embraces these classic styles and enhances them with such a novel and energetic sound that the band has carved a unique niche in the hearts of dancers of all ages. SonSublime, of course, has an edge—an array of extraordinarily gifted artists who are also blessed with an ingrained sense of cultural authenticity, as evidenced once again in this new recording. A brief profile of their talent will help unveil the band’s distinct style. It should be noted that most of the musicians here are veterans of the band’s two previous CD’s, and most also perform with SonSublime in the band’s frequent live appearances in New York City’s club circuit.
SonSublime’s strong rhythm section is anchored by veteran Gil Suarez, pianist and former leader of the Hi-Latins and La Típica Ideal orchestras. The bassist, Marino Solano, has been a member of El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, Roberto Torres' S.A.R. All Stars, Charanga De La 4, Orquesta Broadway and the orchestras of Rafael Cortijo, Primitivo Santos and José Fajardo. Joining this solid rhythm section are band members from Sublime, Jesse Herrero’s previous band from the 1970’s. Joe González, on conga drums, is a veteran of the group Saoco. Manny Rivera, on timbales, bongos and snare drum, began his music career playing bongó in a Latin workshop band in 1973, which eventually became Orquesta Yambú.
The flutist, Connie Grossman, a native New Yorker with a BFA in Flute Performance and an MAT in Music Education, has performed throughout the U.S. and abroad and has studied in Cuba under the guidance of Aragon’s ex-flutist Richard Egües. She performs as a Latin jazz and classical soloist and has recorded with Yomo Toro, Charansón, The Latin Jazz Coalition, Companhia das Musicas, and Pasión. Ms. Grossman is a musician whose cultural sensitivity equals her mastery of the flute. In all of SonSublime’s recordings she has shown a superb technical ability and a command of the Cuban charanga genre that few flutists possess.
Violinist Mike Pérez, born in Havana, earned a doctorate from the University of Texas and founded the band Típica New York. He has been a member of Orquesta Aragón, Orquesta Broadway and Charanga '76.
Violinist Sam Bardfeld was born and raised in New York City. In 1986 he attended Wesleyan University, where he learned improvisation with saxophonist Bill Barron and drummer Ed Blackwell, and also studied ethnomusicology. Graduating with honors, Sam went on to become a world acclaimed musician who performs and records with Bruce Springsteen’s “Pete Seeger Project”, as well as other famous Latin bands in the New York City area. In this recording, Sam’s violin solo in “Agua Dulce, Agua Salá” demonstrates his ability to capture the essence of the traditional Cuban flavor and sound.
David Rimelis’ unique charanga violin style has been featured in many prominent Latin ensembles, including those of José Fajardo, Johnny Pacheco, Roberto Torres, Orchestra Broadway, and Africando. He is a Graduate of the B.M.I. Jazz Composers’ Workshop in New York City and holds an M.F.A. in Music Theory and Composition from Montclair State University. He also has a B.A. in Music Education and Violin from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and a Diploma in Music Composition and Guitar from Boston’s School of Contemporary Music.
Violinist Ali Bello is a dazzling and versatile Venezuelan violinist who began his career in his native country and came to New York in the early 90's. He has played extensively in chamber music ensembles and symphony orchestras, but his talents and credits stretch beyond the realm of classical music to include jazz, pop, Middle Eastern, and the many styles of Latin American music. Ali holds an undergraduate degree from Queens College and a Masters degree in Music Performance from Mannes College. He has recorded, performed and collaborated with Latin music luminaries of the like of Tito Puente, José Fajardo, Regina Carter and Johnny Pacheco. You will relish his performance with SonSublime in this CD.
Gilberto Velázquez, born in New York City to Cuban and Puerto Rican parents, has a remarkable range as a vocalist and adds great strength to SonSublime’s voice section. When not singing with SonSublime, he accompanies and records with many famous salsa artists singing lead and background vocals. His voice truly excels in the charanga style.
But SonSublime’s soul is, without a doubt, Jesse Herrero. As the band’s founder and musical director, he also adds an essential component to the rhythm section with the Cuban güiro, in addition to leading the band and producing all the recordings under his own label, LASEMCo. As one of the lead vocalists, Jesse’s voice really captures the style and tone of the traditional Cuban charanga sound.
Bailando con SonSublime is, in essence, a top quality recording, a welcome addition to anyone’s musical trove. And a feeling of awe is not unwarranted. For Herrero’s selection of songs for this album, filled with colorful and innovative arrangements, again reveals his undeniable sense of cubanía. While sweeping dancers, young and old, to their feet, SonSublime will continue to foster an appreciation of an important component of Cuba’s prodigious musical legacy: the charanga, a genre characterized by its rich instrumentation, its mellifluous, intoxicating sound and the universality of its sensual lyrics.
Iraida Iturralde, President
The Cuban Cultural Center of New York
Editor's Pick May 21, 2006:
Sublime isn’t the half of it. Here comes a working band, one that could be heard all over New York when there were more clubs to play. It’s a charanga road band, and solid. But Bailando is better than just solid; the band comes to play, and the whole album just sounds damn good, with better than good singing, and a great swinging string section along with a sparkling coros. Connie Grossman, the flautist, has the Cuban sound down perfectly, and the group’s resume — listed extensively in the liner notes — makes the band the most educated group working the Latin circuit in New York. This is good. Just listen to the veteran bassist Marino Solano if you want a thrill.
Very Highly Recommended.
Latin Beat Magazine
The elegance and sophistication of the charanga format is best exemplified in this new release by the New York City-based group SonSublime. Based on the genre’s most noticeable signature instruments (strings and flute), the charanga style of SonSublime delivers intriguing melodies via the capable talent of flautist Connie Grossman and string masters (violin and viola) Ali Bello and David Rimelis. This group’s mature, extraordinarily gifted rhythm section (headed by commander-in-chief Jesse Herrero on minor percussions and vocals) includes Gilberto Suarez (piano), Marino Solano (bass), and percussionists Joe Gonzalez and Manuel Rivera. Legendary charanga singer Ronnie Baró (of Africando fame) joins SonSublime’s lead vocalist Gilberto Velazquez on this recording, producing dazzling vocal harmonies and textural magic throughout the entire session. Other musical guests include Alfredo Valdes, Jr. (piano), Luis Rodriguez (tres), and string players Sam Bardfeld, Mike Perez and Jennifer Vincent. Charangueros will love the selections La Casita de Margót, Macusa, Mi Charanga and Agua Dulce, Agua Sala.
Latin Beat Magazine
Latin Beat Magazine
A BITE FROM THE BIG APPLE – NEW YORK
Laser luster…..I’m thrilled to tell you about a new release where each and every track sparkles (there is no “filler”!), the latest CD of vocalist/guiro player and producer Jesse Herrero’s charanga, titled Bailando con SonSublime! (Dancing with SonSublime!), which contains12 tracks that swing so intensely with such energy and virtuosity that the only difficulty is deciding which number to play!
Produced by Jesse Herrero, SonSublime’s CD features two vocalists (talented newcomer Gilberto Velazquez and veteran Ronnie Baró) in addition to violinist Ali bello, David Rimelis, Mike Perez and Sam Bardfeld, cellist Jennifer Vincent, conguero Joe Gonzalez, tibalero/bongocero Manuel Rivera, flautist Connie Grossman, pianist Gil Suarez, and bassist Marino Solano, plus guests Alfredito Valdes, Jr., (piano) and Luis Rodriguez (tres). Quite a combustible mix, as each player is worthy of a full-length columm!
The arrangements by Suarez, Valdés, Herrero, Frank Bello and the late Gonzalo Fernandez, fully respect the Cuban charanga tradition and are fresh and exciting at the same time.
Radio Host and Writer
¡Bailando con SonSublime!
Dancing with SonSublime!
¡La Charanga vive! Puede ser la expresión adecuada para anunciar el reciente trabajo de la orquesta de flauta y violines que dirige Jesse Herrero en New York, SonSublime!
Con los primeros compases del tema "Ella quiere que la vean bailando" del legendario pianista charanguero Gil Suárez (esta amarrando el piano en esta producción junto al baby bass de Marino Solano) el melómano se transporta a la época inolvidable de las charangas newyorkinas de los 70, que asumieron con regocijo y elegancia las escuelas intocables de Fajardo, La Aragón, Gilberto Valdez, Pacheco y Charlie Palmieri.
Coincide que vuelve a encantar en la flauta la presencia femenina de Connie Grossman (evocando los tiempos de Andrea Brachfeld y Karen Joseph) y como si fuera poco el dúo vocal de Jesse Herrero y Gilberto Velásquez nos transporta a los tiempos irrepetibles de Hansel y Raúl con la charanga 76.
¡La charanga vive! Es la perfecta expresión para recomendar
el cd ¡Bailando con Son Sublime! made in New York para el mundo.
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