A nine-time Grammy-winner and all-star vocalist of the illustrious salsa label, Fania Records, Rubén Blades is a living legend. Following a 2017 collaboration with Lin-Manuel Miranda, as well as Salsa Big Band, his 2017 album with Roberto Delgado & Orquesta, Blades has announced a live LP out October 19th, titled Una Noche con Rubén Blades.
The album was recorded live in 2014 with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, in New York City’s Rose Theater. Blades performed some of his most treasured hits from over the last four decades, including “Pedro Navaja” and “El Cantante,” which also feature on the LP. The lead single, “Ban Ban Quere,” was first debuted in percussionist Ray Baretto’s 1975 album, Barretto; Blades revives this classic song with dizzying arrangements by renowned Orchestra bassist, Carlos Henriquez. Orchestra trumpeter Wynton Marsalis ramps up the song’s apex with a blazing solo, ascending higher and higher until the brass emits a resounding shriek.
“[It] was a showcase then and it still is a showcase 43 years later,” Blades tells Rolling Stone. “This was the first song we did on our three concert dates at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater. The audience was with us all the way. Electric!”
“Jazz is the story of taking old parts and building something new,” says Henriquez. “We did exactly that using the Great American Songbook and the Afro-Cuban rhythms that propel all the wonderful music that Rubén sang that evening. The music I arranged for Rubén Blades to perform with the Orchestra sounds like Panama, New Orleans, and New York all mixed into one. Those sounds form the heart of all our stories as musicians, and in combining them we reaffirmed that we’re all in this together.”
Una Noche con Rubén Blades is now available for pre-order via Blue Engine Records. Blades’ 1978 collaboration with Willie Colón, “Plástico,” was named one of Rolling Stone‘s 50 Greatest Latin Pop Songs.