Salswing!, with Roberto Delgado as musical director, producer, arranger, bass, and backing vocals.
I could begin by stating that I have been a huge fan of Ruben Blades’ music since the 70’s. He has a great voice, writes solid lyrics, composes superb music, and has been an outspoken activist and advocate for all of Latin America for decades. I often woodshed lifting bass lines from his tunes from back in the day.
Now Ruben has teamed up with Panama City based Roberto Delgado (who plays bass) and his orchestra of a dozen musicians to put together a series of three albums “Salswing”, “Salsa Plus” and “Swing”. The most comprehensive one of the series is “Salswing” so it is our topic today.
This album starts with a solid Salsa (Latin Jazz) foundation and blends in Jazz and Swing elements. The arrangements are tight and precise with driving percussion, punchy horns, and an immaculate bass groove. There are plenty of opportunities for this great collection of amazing musicians to shine at their best. The end result is a very polished musical product that is easy to listen to and will get you up on your feet wanting to dance.
The song choices reach deeply into American music as well as the Latin songbook and present a very unique melting pot of musicality that reflects the Latino culture today. The really cool thing is that it exposes these different aspects to each other and will make fans of two very different audiences.
If you are a Salsa fan or enjoy Big Band Jazz and Swing, you owe it to yourself to give this album a listen; you are in for a real treat!
Salswing! available at Amazon.com