By the time you read this, Ruben Blades run at Jazz at Lincoln Center will have ended but I feel compelled to share the experience with you.
I’m a long-time fan of Ruben Blades. I grew up listening to his hits with Ray Barretto, Willie Colon, and the Fania All-Stars among others. I’m also an avid follower of his music outside of the salsa realm – rock, jazz and more recently, tango.
Until I attended the open rehearsal at Jazz at Lincoln Center I’d never heard Blades perform a jazz standard. I was not only impressed with his timing and phrasing but also his ability to switch from one genre to another effortlessly.
Without giving too much away, it’s a night of jazz and salsa, in Spanish and English, a fascinating “mixtura” that presents Blades in a way the public has never seen him before.
Much of the credit goes to bassist and musical director, Carlos Henriquez who does a masterful job of arranging, conducting and transforming the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra into a hard-driving salsa band and swing band, as the situation demands.
Blades was accompanied by Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and invited guests Eddie Rosado, Luba Mason and the percussionists Bobby Allende and Marc Quiñones.
The rehearsal felt more like a party, with family, friends, and supporters enjoying the atmosphere and the music.
The event was followed by a reception for the artists, members of the press and JALC staff.
Kudos to Jazz at Lincoln Center for the “Jazz through the Americas” series, which explores how jazz has both integrated and influenced the rich musical traditions of the Caribbean and North, South, and Central America.
The 2014-2015 season has lived up to the hype!
AZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER: www.jazz.org