Steven Oquendo Orchestra (featuring singers Frankie Vazquez and Frankie Morales)


Steven Oquendo - Musician, Band Leader and Educator, was born in 1979 in New York City. Oquendo’s love affair with music began at the tender age of 10, when he first learned to play the trumpet. He later attended one of the nation’s most prestigious performing arts institutions – Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School, where he was a member of the award winning LaGuardia Concert Jazz Ensemble. During his attendance, the ensemble won first place in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 1996 Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition and Festival. Wynton Marsalis personally awarded the “Outstanding Soloist Award” to Oquendo during the 1998 competition. That same year he was also a member of the prestigious Grammy All-American High School Jazz Orchestra. During this time he was mentored by Jon Faddis and Wynton Marsalis – two of the most highly regarded jazz trumpeters.

During and after high school, Oquendo – who is of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent – proved himself to be a powerful force in the Latin music scene. Oquendo has toured all parts of the globe, including Africa, Europe, South America and the Caribbean. He has recorded and performed with a wide and diverse range of artists, which include collaborations with, Destiny’s Child, Big Pun, Swiss Beatz, Angie Martinez, Juan Luis Guerra, and Mana. He has also performed with Celia Cruz, Ruben Blades, Cheo Feliciano, Wynton Marsalis, Jon Faddis, Arturo Sandoval, India, George Lamond, Eddie Palmieri, Ray Santos, Milly Quezada, The Tito Rodriguez Orchestra, The Machito Orchestra, and many more.

In 2009 Oquendo formed the Steven Oquendo Latin Jazz Orchestra (SOLJO), a 19-piece big band comprised of well-seasoned professional musicians, that for more than five years, has intrigued and captivated audiences with its sophisticated use of free improvisation, dissonant harmonies, fusion rhythms, and creative arrangements in the arena of Afro Cuban, Latin Jazz, Salsa, and The 1950s - Palladium Mambo Classics.

Since its inception, Steve Oquendo, the distinguished trumpeter and music educator with his band SOLJO has proven itself a force to be reckoned with. The big band is made up of 19 superbly talented guardians of Latin music. SOLJO’s Members hail from all five boroughs of New York City and beyond, and have individually performed with a wide array of international artists, including Ray Santos, Tito Puente, Dizzy Gillespie, Celia Cruz, Ruben Blades, Cheo Feliciano, Machito, Tito Rodriguez, Wynton Marsalis, Hector Lavoe, Benny Golson, Eddie Palmieri, Jon Faddis, Marc Anthony, Dave Valentín, Arturo Sandoval, Destiny’s Child, Candido Camero, Bobby Sanabria, Juan Luis Guerra, Giovanni Hidalgo, Ray Barretto and a host of others.

SOLJO includes a repertoire of Afro Cuban 1950s Palladium Mambo Classics that pay homage to the genre’s originators, while simultaneously injecting a fresh interpretation that has intrigued and captured new fans of all ages and backgrounds. SOLJO’s incorporates sophisticated use of free improvisation, dissonant harmonies, fusion rhythms, and creative arrangements.



The New York International Salsa Congress is New York City's largest and longest-running Latin dance and music event where the world comes to dance every Labor Day Weekend. This year is the 18th annual edition and will take place at the prestigious New York Marriott Marquis, in the heart of Times Square, footsteps from Broadway theaters, museums and other NYC attractions.  

Featuring live band concerts, performance showcases, instructional workshops, and non-stop social dancing all in the center of the world's greatest city, come see why the NYISC brings thousands of attendees from New York and over 40 countries worldwide for an annual celebration of Latin dance, music and culture.

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