Zervigon arrived in the United States from
Cuba in 1962. That year he performed with
Lou Perez's band and subbed for Pacheco
when Johnny had to have a throat operation,
and founded the charanga band, Orquesta
Broadway. A charanga band is a Latin
band that consists of flute, violin, bass,
piano, timbale, guiro player/singer, and
of course the lead vocalist. It was
around this same year that I began to build
bongos and sell them on consignment to a
store on 48th Street in New York City by
the name of Frank Wolf's Drummer's Supplies.
was the beginning of the pachanga dance
craze and bongos weren't used for this music
and I would have to develop other items
to build my future business with.
Nonetheless, I was hooked on this music.
There was something extraordinary about
hearing a great charanga band. As
Eddy explained, when the band was really
cooking, it had a relaxed swing going on.
With the relaxed swing, Orquesta Broadway
was able to move the dancer like no other
band. While I was not a dancer, I followed
them around from one venue to the next.
age 15, Eddy's parents gave him 200 Cuban
pesos for his birthday. Eddy had a
brief passion for gambling at pool and he
lost 185 of the 200 on the game. With
the remaining, 15 pesos, he bought a flute.
Thus Eddy's career began as a musician and,
he assured me, he never gambled again.
remembers seeing two guys enthusiastically
applaud his performance at The Paladium
ballroom in New York City. They
introduced themselves and returned to their
next performance at Club Cubano Interamericano.
There, Ira Hersher, the younger of the two,
sat in with the band. Eddy loved the way
Ira played.David Hersher was also
a piano player so Eddy sent him to a music
teacher to learn the bass. Within 4 months
David was playing the instrument.
It has always fascinated me that Jewish
guys like these and Barry Rogers could play
this special music with such authenticity.
One reason might be that the Hersher boys
were involved with the running of the Raleigh
Hotel in the Catskill Mountains, less than
two hours away from Manhattan. Some
of the best of Latin bands have appeared
at the hotels in the Catskills including
Orquesta Aragon from Cuba, who appeared
there in 1959. Eddy said it was also
Ira's sitting in with The La Playa Sextet
that helped shape his playing in the direction
of Latin music. Ira has since moved
to New Zealand and now calls himself Hershal.
David is pursuing other talents. He
had worked in the management area of the
recording business and he is now the manager
of the Raleigh Hotel in the Catskill Mountains.
myself, Eddy, Karl and Raul pose for
the camera as Matthew and Raul practice
have always been fond of the slow son montunos
of the typical donzon of Cuban music. Orquesta
Broadway went to Africa three times.
The first time they went to Abidjan on the
Ivory Coast. There they played for
the President's daughter's wedding. The
second time they went to Monrovia. The third
time they went to Senegal. They also
performed for this same audience in Paris.
plays a French-made, wooden flute with 5
or 6 keys which hasn't been manufactured
for over 100 years. He is secretive about
his collection of old flutes. Being
protective of this rare tool of his trade,
is quite understandable.
During the years of Broadway's greatest
popularity, the band was working 16 gigs
a week. Eddy found that carrying the
band alone with his flute was too demanding.
He then hired trumpet player, Roberto
Rodriguez. The charanga band is no
longer as popular as it once was, possibly
because it is expensive to get a record
played on the air and none of the major
labels specializing in Afro-Carribean music
(I have a difficult time using "Salsa
Music") have a charanga band as part
of its roster. In addition, small
labels won't take on the challenge of producing
a recording of this great of band since
there is little or no chance of getting
air play. An older crowd attends the
dances where Broadway plays. These fans
remember the time when many Latin bands
played at this high level. Broadway
always swept dancers off their feet and
influenced music lovers from all walks of
life. I hope I see the revival of
this great music.