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Harlem River Drive - Harlem River Drive
Recent census data indicating that the population of Latinos and African-Americans are roughly equal has produced a flurry of discussion about the necessity for the 2 groups to work together in their mutual interest.

I mention this only because the current situation makes Harlem River Drive's vision even more astounding.  The group was assembled by Latin artist Eddie Palmieri and charged with a noble mission: to synthesize the music of urban New York, Latin and funk, into a cohesive whole.  With a racially mixed band that counted Cornell Dupree, Ronnie Cuber, Charlie Palmieri and Nick Marrero as members, Harlem River Drive turned heads in concert by having the Latin and black musician open by playing separate sets, only to come together for the main event.  Their self-titled masterpiece would be their only recording.

"Idle Hands" and the opening "Harlem River Drive Theme" are dutifully recognized landmarks in the Nu Yorican and rare groove communities.  Jimmy Norman's soulful vocals put real feeling into the lyrics addressing the reality of ghetto life, most forcefully on "Broken Home," a 10 minute explosion of rich solos and passionate singing.

"Seeds of Life" closes the LP on an optimistic note, one that seems keeping with the band's hope for a day in which America's two largest minority groups would live and work together in harmony. 

Copyright 2001 B.Graff.  All rights reserved.

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Released 1971 on Roulette

Selected Tracks:

Idle Hands
Seeds of Life
Harlem River Drive Theme

 

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