Larry Harlow

Chris Coyne

Larry Harlow

If anybody could be called a virtuoso, it’s Lawrence Ira Kahn. Born in New York to a North American Jewish family, Kahn grew up with a young brother, Andy (who also became a distinguished musician), in a Jewish and Puerto Rican neighborhood.

Ira Kahn, known as Larry Harlow and later dubbed “The Marvelous Jew,” made a name for himself with his dexterity on the piano, organ, flute, and bass. He was also known for his solid classical training on harmony and composition.

Attracted to and influenced by the culture of the Latin community, and with a latent interest in getting in touch with his roots, he dedicated himself to an exhaustive study of the various manifestations and expressions of his music. It is also interesting to note that he gained celebrity as the leader of several jazz groups, and is considered a consummate interpreter of jazz, as well as salsa.

Harlow was a pioneer among the many talents involved with Fania Records, the label with which he recorded more than 106 albums by various artists, and 50 of his own. Simultaneously, he worked on several productions with his subsidiary labels.

He has been so prolific and so successful that he has been honored for his memorable albums, such as “El exigente,” “Me and My Monkey” (which went gold), “Electric Harlow,” “Yo soy latino,” “Hommy,” “Salsa,” and “La raza latina,” an ambitious album that featured the collaboration of Rubén Blades and earned Harlow a Grammy nomination. On each and every one of his productions, Harlow made his mark as composer, musician, producer, and director. He was a mentor to many who have now made a name for themselves and become part of the history of our music.

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