For the Love of the Mambo

A documentary by Marsha Baxter

The Crane Latin Ensemble, also known as Norte Tropical, is one of the premiere performing ensembles of the Crane School of Music, State University of New York. Located in Potsdam, north of New York’s Adirondack Mountains, the Crane School of Music is home to the largest music education program in the United States.


Founded by Director Dr. Marsha Baxter, the twenty-one member ensemble reflects the diverse musical life at Crane – strings, brass, percussion, piano, woodwinds and voice. National Public Radio journalist Tod Moe writes, “It’s dynamic music from a group of talented young people who played their hearts and souls out. I could have grinned all night.”


Their music – a blend of classical and contemporary salsa, Latin jazz, and hip salsa hybrids – draws enthusiastic crowds in formal concert halls as well as informal venues. In 2007, the ensemble performed as featured young artists at the International SAT Festival in Monterrey, Mexico, along with Panamanian percussionist Renato Thoms; and in Canada’s Capital Brassworks’ Tour of the Americas concert in March 2010. The ensemble recently returned to Mexico to play concerts hosted by the University of the Americas Puebla and the Mexico Tourism Bureau. They have also performed in concert with legendary Latin jazz trombonist Chris Washburne and Mambo Legends Orchestra’s tenor saxophonist and flutist Mitch Frohman. 

crane latin ensemble

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