Tangos, the stunning new CD from Rubén Blades, is set for release via Sunnyside Records on June 24th.
The best songs are those that provide messages that reach beyond the genre into which they are born. There are lyrics that can move people deeply, even when the composer and listener are separated by oceans.
The tremendous poet, composer and actor Rubén Blades is the sort who can plumb the depths of human emotion. Over his industrious and varied career, Blades has been a voice of passion, awareness and social consciousness throughout the Spanish-speaking world. He also possesses a wide-ranging interest in ideas and art, which has led to his involvement in projects with intriguing musical blends, including his new recording Tangos, a fascinating partnership of Blades’s classic salsa compositions with Argentinean tango.
Blades’s interest in tango music led him to reach out to his long time friend and collaborator Carlos Franzetti. Both were intimately involved in the New York Latin jazz and salsa scenes of the late 1970s and early 1980s and they befriended each other while working on a number of recordings, including the massive releases of Siembra (1978) and Maestra Vida (1980) and the music for the films Beat Street (1984) and Q&A (1990).
The initial idea for a collaboration using tango material was proposed nearly a decade ago but plans were delayed while Blades served as the Minister of Tourism for his native Panama from 2004 to 2009. Blades never forgot the idea and he began to hint at a possible tango project with Franzetti while touring Latin America shortly after his term ended.
Blades’s hints led to an invitation from Gustavo Mozi for the two to close the World Tango Festival in Buenos Aires during the summer of 2010. The Festival gave Blades and Franzetti the perfect opportunity to tackle the project.
Franzetti began by arranging five of Blades’s compositions for their performance: “Pablo Pueblo,” “Ligia Elena,” “Ella,” “Paula C” and “Pedro Navaja.” At the Festival, Blades and Franzetti were accompanied by the fantastic Leopoldo Federico Orchestra, which also recorded the pieces shortly thereafter. Once they returned to New York, Blades and Franzetti worked on arranging another six compositions, which were recorded with a tango quintet, with the strings and woodwinds recorded later in Prague.
Rubén Blades has proven himself to be one of the greatest lyricists and songwriters of our time. The idea to frame his lyrics with the tremendous arrangements of Carlos Franzetti in the tango idiom only increases the drama of his poetry. Tangos will prove to cement the legacy of this master songwriter and the ability of his songs to transcend musical borders.
Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band to release new recording: “Vox Humana”
Celebrating 25 years! The multi-Grammy nominated Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band is set to release their new recording: “Vox Humana” featuring vocalists Janis Siegel, Antoinette Montague, Jennifer Jade Ledesna.
Recorded Live at Dizzy’s Club Cola in NYC
Release Date: Spring 2023
Record Label: Jazzheads
New York – January 18th – On the heels of their Grammy nominated and 2019 Jazz Journalists Association Album of the Year Award winning critically acclaimed masterwork, West Side Story Reimagined, and in celebration of their 25th anniversary – drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, bandleader, educator, Bobby Sanabria and his Multiverse Big Band return with their most ambitious work to date, VOX HUMANA.
Bobby states, “Over the course of our many Grammy nominated albums we’ve occasionally featured tracks with vocals. But I’ve always envisioned doing an entire vocal album framed by the Multiverse Big Band. Now with three of today’s greatest contemporary singing talents – multi-Grammy award winner Janis Siegel from the Manhattan Transfer, blues and jazz Queen Antoinette Montague, and the multilingual powerhouse, Jennifer Jade Ledesna, today that vision has finally become a reality.
The individually distinct voices that Janis, Antoinette, and Jennifer possess make them each unique. But the X factor they all have is they are all masterful improvisors in the best sense of the jazz tradition. Added to the mix is our great conguero, Oreste Abrantes, who also sings lead on two tracks. Having that multi- dimensional vocal talent framed by the power, nuance, and tonal variety that only a big band can provide, combined with the repertoire I’ve chosen to showcase them and the band and the incredible variety of Afro- Latin, straight ahead swing, funk, R&B, and rock rhythmic vocabulary that we are masters of and readily have at our disposal in the Multiverse, I believe VOX HUMANA will prove to be our greatest achievement.
That repertoire has a personal meaning to me as I see VOX HUMANA as a biographical work. I’m a product of my environment. I’m a Nuyorican, a person of Puerto Rican descent growing up in New York City. In my case the South Bronx during a time period when pop, jazz, R&B, rock, funk, and Latin music of all kinds all co-existed as equals. It was the last era when the big bands of masters like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Machito, Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, Don Ellis, and more were in the public eye, and they became my heroes. Vocalists who could deliver a message with subtlety, nuance, and when needed, power, were called upon to deliver poetry crafted by genius song writers. You’ll hear all that and more through the soaring vocals and improv talents of Janis, Antoinette, and Jennifer, along with Oreste, as well as the incredible jazz-oriented arrangements and exciting Pan Afro-Latin rhythms played by a big band that literally takes no prisoners when it hits the stage.”
The repertoire Bobby speaks of includes 1 original and 12 unique re-workings of pop hits like Spooky, Christine Aguilera’s Genie In a Bottle, and Steely Dan’s Do It Again; NEA Jazz Master Eddie Palmieri’s, Mi Congo and Puerto Rico along with the island’s greatest composer, Rafael Hernandez’s, Capullito De Aleli; the classic Joe Cuba R&B bolero, To Be With You; Brazilian standards Partido Alto and Amazonas; and from the world of Broadway theater, I Love You Porgy, and the iconic jump blues, Let The Good Times Roll. The CD also includes an original message bearing piece, Who Taught You That, as well as what may possibly be the most exciting interpretation of the Ellington associated classic, Caravan, and that has ever been recorded.
Adding to the excitement of the performance, VOX HUMANA was recorded in front of a live audience. Bobby states, “As with our previous work, we recorded VOX HUMANA live at NYC’s Dizzy’s Club Coca – Cola. My musicians represent NYC’s finest. That means they’re the greatest in the world. The added level of excitement created by the audience inspired us in the MULTIVERSE Big Band to a heightened new level of performance virtuosity that listeners will hear explode out of the speakers just as the audience at Dizzy’s experienced in person.”
The history of the Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band is indeed one based on his rich multi-cultural heritage as a Nuyorican growing up in New York City’s South Bronx. His concept of having a big band that has no genre boundaries with limitless possibilities was forged 25 years ago back in 1998. It has yielded a series of groundbreaking, critically acclaimed albums that have all been Grammy-nominated with the band thrilling audiences worldwide at venues like the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, The Ravinia Festival, Verona Jazz Festival in Europe, and more.
Content Source: Two for the Show Media
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