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Jazz great Wynton Marsalis teamed his Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Salsa great Ruben Blades in a unique event and live recording “Una Noche con Rubén Blades”.
These two legendary stars delivered great Salsa and Jazz. The question is weather Salsa fans will like the Jazzy versions and weather Jazz fans will like the Ruben’s jazz singing.
A Wonderful Evening with Rubén Blades
If you press the play button with an open mind to how the language of music can speak these two musical dialects in unison, I think you’ll be surprisingly delighted.
Here’s a quick promo at what’s coming:
An Enchanting Evening of Salsa and Jazz
I found that at times the combination of Salsa and Jazz worked spectacularly. Other times it challenged my expectations.
For example, the Barretto classic “Ban Ban Quere” was a great lead-off song as it’s a straight Salsa. But then “El Cantante” masterfully blends Salsa with elements of Jazz, giving us a new approach to the song Ruben wrote and Hector Lavoe converted into a classic.
Yet after “Ban Ban Quere” we get into songs like ”To Close for Comfort” where Ruben sings a straight-ahead Jazz piece. He does well, but it took me some time to get used to the idea of Blades singing Jazz.
It turns out the songs was kind of a catch. I say that because later songs like “I Can’t Give You Anything but Live”, “Begin the Beguines”, and “Fever”, begin with as straight Jazz songs only for Marsalis to surprise us by turning them into nice Salsa songs.
My Take on “Una Noche con Rubén Blades”
For fans of Wynton Marsalis and of Ruben Blades, this album is worth checking out if you come with an open mind.
The musical arrangements are out of this world, the song selection turned out to be fabulous, and the mix of Salsa and Jazz worked.
BTW, the album has as special guest in “Fever” the participation of Luba Mason, Ruben’s wife. If you haven’t heard her sing before, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
This album certainly challenged my preconceptions, but I grew into it the more I listened to it.