As a native New Yorker, salsa holds a very special place in my heart, as it reminds me specifically of summer on the streets of Corona, Spanish Harlem, Bushwick and the South Bronx. And certainly, there seems to be a sense among New Yorkers that salsa is a particularly New York thing, as New York as bagels, jaywalking, Katz’s Deli, Carnegie Hall and Wo-Hop; however, much like hip-hop, salsa dura has managed to be beloved internationally across an ever growing Diaspora of Latin Americans, who emigrated to escape the various coups and revolutions of the 70s and 80s. Interestingly enough, Australia has a significant Latin American population and naturally, the children of those emigrants grew up listening to the sounds back home.
Featuring Sergio Botero (vocals), Luis Poblete (congos), siblings Cesar Saavedra (baby bass) and Christian Saavedra (timbales) as its core members, along with sone of Melbourne, Australia’s best Latin and jazz musicians, the Melbourne-based band Quarter Street has a sound that channels old school salsa – i.e. the Fania Records days of Hector Lavoe, Rubén Blades, Tipica ‘73 and countless others, as you’ll hear on “Fantasia,” the first single off the band’s forthcoming self-titled full-length, slated for an August 14 release through Australia’s Hope Street Recordings. It’s all tight and swaggering grooves, incredible horns and Botero’s vocals and if it doesn’t make you dance, you have a cold, cold, cold heart.