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Una Noche con Rubén Blades

Late in 2014, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis welcomed a very special guest to their Manhattan stage: nine-time GRAMMY winning singer, songwriter, actor, and activist Rubén Blades. For one very special night—music-directed by the JLCO’s bassist and “emerging master in the Latin jazz idiom” (DownBeat) Carlos Henriquez—the worlds of salsa and swing collided. Backed by one of the world’s leading big bands, Blades took the audience on a tour through his greatest hits. In their write-up of the show, the New York Times said “Mr. Henriquez’s arrangements delivered consistently… Radically beautiful.”

Now, Una Noche con Rubén Blades captures this historic concert in CD and digital formats. The album finds the Maestro singing some of his own beloved compositions, including “Pedro Navaja,” “Patria,” and “El Cantante,” as well as swinging through standards like “Too Close for Comfort” and “Begin the Beguine,” all while backed by the Downbeat Reader’s Poll Big Band of the Year (2013, ‘14. & ‘15).

Una Noche con Rubén Blades

Album Info

Ensemble JLCO with Wynton Marsalis featuring Rubén Blades
Release Date October 19th, 2018
Recording Date November 15, 2014
Record Label Blue Engine Records
Catalogue Number BE0013
Formats CD, Digital Download
Genre Jazz at Lincoln Center Recordings

Album Links

CD Amazon
MP3 Amazon
MP3 iTunes
CD JALC
Listen on Spotify

Track Listing

Track Length Preview
(Carlos Henriquez Introduction) 0:39 Play
Ban Ban Quere 6:31 Play
Too Close for Comfort 5:56 Play
El Cantante 8:44 Play
I Can’t Give You Anything but Love 6:41 Play
Apóyate en Mi Alma 5:51 Play
Pedro Navaja 8:10 Play
Begin the Beguine 7:39 Play
Sin Tu Cariño 7:49 Play
Rubén’s Medley: Ligia Elena / El Número 6 / Juan Pachanga 12:06 Play
Patria (Encore) 6:59 Play
Don’t Like Goodbyes – bonus track 6:48 Play
Fever – bonus track 5:52 Play
They Can’t Take That Away from Me – bonus track 7:04 Play

Liner Notes

I’ve known Rubén Blades since I was two years old—or at least I feel like I have. His albums—and the sound and the warmth they generated—filled my family’s apartment at 146th and Brook Ave. in the Bronx, and his music was one of my earliest influences. I recognized even as a child that the social messages that lie at the core of his songs resonated with my parents. Rubén has always known how to distill his heart and values into his music, how to exhort listeners to fight for equality and break down racial barriers.

Rubén himself knows the power of encountering music at a young age. The musical lessons his mother (a pianist) gave him as a child and the life lessons that famed Panamanian trumpeter Víctor “Vitín” Paz offered him as a teen were just the foundations for his future musical adventures. Salsa in the 1970s could probably be described as the Blades Era: his collaborations with artists like Willie Colón, Ray Barretto, and the Fania All-Stars helped redefine the genre. He is also at least partially responsible for putting Héctor Lavoe on the map with his own “El Cantante,” a song Rubén wrote while working in the mail room of famed salsa record label Fania.

No matter what sounds Rubén encountered—be it jazz, Latin, or the indigenous music of Panama—he made them his own. His wide-ranging musical fascinations are why it’s so easy to call his own music _mixtura_—it’s one grand mixture, after all—and one of his great talents is understanding the power of integrating different genres. In November 2014, Rubén joined the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis for several beautiful performances. I had the privilege of being the show’s music director and developing the show’s concept, which showcased the JLCO’s expertise in unifying different musical traditions as one.

Our Orchestra is living proof of just how much harmony you can create by joining different strands of music together. Jazz stands as the true American art form precisely because it’s a musical melting pot, bringing many generations and cultures and ethnicities together in the pursuit of unity. From Manuel Perez to the Tio family, from the 18 Puerto Ricans who made up the Harlem Hellfighters to Benny Goodman’s integrated band, from tubist Ralph Escudero to Jelly Roll to Mario Bauzá to Dizzy Gillespie and beyond, jazz is the story of taking old parts and building something new.

When Rubén joined us for our performances at Rose Theater, 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 of our stories as musicians, and in combining them we reaffirmed that we’re all in this together.

— Carlos Henriquez

Credits

1. Carlos Henriquez Introduction (0:39)

2. Ban Ban Quere (6:31)
Downtown DMP Songs OBO Angel Music Inc.
Written by Calixto Varela Gomez
Arranged by Carlos Henriquez
Soloists: Wynton Marsalis (trumpet)

3. Too Close for Comfort (5:56)
Concord Sounds OBO Abilene Music LLC / Range Road Music, Inc. / Bock IP LLC / Quartet Music Inc. (ASCAP/BMI)
Written by Jerry Bock, George Weiss, and Larry Holofcener
Arranged by Carlos Henriquez
Soloists: Dan Nimmer (piano), Kenny Rampton (trumpet)

4. El Cantante (8:44)
Kobalt Music Pub America OBO Rubén Blades Pub (ASCAP)
Written by Rubén Blades
Arranged by Carlos Henriquez
Soloists: Chris Crenshaw (trombone)

5. I Can’t Give You Anything but Love (6:41)
EMI April Music Inc. OBO Cotton Club Publishing / Shapiro Bernstein & Co. OBO Aldi Music (ASCAP)
Written by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields
Arranged by Carlos Henriquez
Soloists: Ted Nash (flute), Paul Nedzela (baritone saxophone), Rubén Blades (vocals)

6. Apóyate en Mi Alma (5:51)
Peer International Corp. (BMI)
Written by Luis Demetrio
Arranged by José Madera
Soloists: Victor Goines (soprano saxophone)

7. Pedro Navaja (8:10)
Kobalt Music Pub America OBO Rubén Blades Pub (ASCAP)
Written by Rubén Blades
Arranged by Carlos Henriquez

Includes interpolations of:
“A Theme from the ‘Threepenny Opera’ (Mack the Knife)”
WB Music Corp (ASCAP)
Written by Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Weill, and Marc Blitzstein

“America” (from West Side Story)
Chappell & Co. / Universal-Polygram International Publishing (ASCAP)
Written by Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein

8. Begin the Beguine (7:39)
WB Music Corp (ASCAP)
Written by Cole Porter
Arranged by Carlos Henriquez
Soloists: Seneca Black (trumpet)

9. Sin Tu Cariño (7:49)
Downtown DLJ Songs OBO Fania Songs / Downtown DMP Songs OBO Fania Songs (BMI) / Kobalt Music Pub America OBO Rubén Blades Pub (ASCAP)
Written by Rubén Blades and Louie Ramirez
Arranged by Carlos Henriquez
Soloists: Dan Nimmer (piano)

10. Rubén’s Medley: Ligia Elena / El Número 6 / Juan Pachanga (12:06)
Ligia Elena: Kobalt Music Pub America OBO Rubén Blades Pub (ASCAP)
Written by Rubén Blades
El Número 6: Kobalt Music Pub America OBO Rubén Blades Pub (ASCAP)
Written by Rubén Blades
Juan Pachanga: Downtown DLJ Songs OBO Fania Songs / Downtown DMP Songs OBO Fania Songs (BMI) / Kobalt Music Pub America OBO Rubén Blades Pub (ASCAP)
Written by Rubén Blades, Louie Ramirez, and Jerry Masucci
Arranged by Carlos Henriquez
Soloists: Ali Jackson (drums), Carlos Padron (bongos), Bobby Allende (congas), Marc Quiñones (timbales)

11. Patria (Encore) (6:59)
Kobalt Music Pub America OBO Rubén Blades Pub (ASCAP)
Written by Rubén Blades
Soloists: Wynton Marsalis (trumpet)

12. Don’t Like Goodbyes (6:47)
MPL Music Publishing Inc. OBO Harwin Music Co. (ASCAP)
Written by Harold Arlen and Truman Capote
Arranged by Carlos Henriquez
Soloists: Marcus Printup (trumpet)

13. Fever (5:51)
Fort Knox Music Inc. (BMI) / Trio Music Company (BMI)
Written by Eddie Cooley and John Davenport
Arranged by Carlos Henriquez
Vocals: Luba Mason
Soloists: Vincent Gardner (trombone), Kenny Rampton (trumpet)

14. They Can’t Take That Away from Me (7:04)
WB Music Corp. OBO Ira Gershwin Music / Steve Peter Music OBO Nokawi Music / Kobalt Music Pub America Inc.
Written by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin
Arranged by Carlos Henriquez
Soloists: Walter Blanding (tenor saxophone)

Executive Producer: Wynton Marsalis
Producer: Carlos Henriquez

Front of House Engineer: David Robinson
Recording Engineers: Rob Macomber for SiriusXM and James P. Nichols
Post Producer and Mixing Engineer: Todd Whitelock
Mixing Assistant: Josh Welshman
Mastered by Mark Wilder at Battery Studios, NYC 2018

Label Head and A&R: Gabrielle Armand
Label Manager: Aaron Bisman
Art Direction: Ron Jaramillo
Design: Brian Welesko
Legal: Daphnée Saget Woodley, Wesley Friedman, and Allison Job
Product & Marketing Manager: Jake Cohen
Product & Marketing Assistant: Madeleine Cuddy
Music Administration: Kay Wolff, Christianna English
Audio Archivist: Omar Little
Concert Line Producer: Justin Bias
Photography: Frank Stewart and Lawrence Sumulong
Liner Notes: Carlos Henriquez
Music Copyists: Geoff Burke, Richard DeRosa, Andy Farber, Victor Goines, and Jonathan Kelly

Personnel