All Rubén Blades
fans know his wizardry in the studio to be beyond comparison in the salsa world. Though some artists have difficulty making the transition from studio to stage, Blades
takes on the challenge like a champ. His prowess as a live performer is in equal proportion to his inventive studio presence. The only disappointing aspect of his 1990 release, Rubén Blades y Son del Solar...Live!
, is that it's Blades
' only live in concert performance in his large discography. Backed up by the 11-piece band Son de Solar
concentrates on repertoire that pleasingly mixes material from recent collaborations with the band, Agua de Luna
and Buscando América
, and his days with Fania. The play list is one crowd-pleaser after another, including recent hits like "Ojos de Perro Azul" and classics like "Pedro Navaja." Though favoring a now dated synth-heavy sound, the musical performances are so powerful that they must have shaken the club to its foundation. Son de Solar
are themselves an amazing conflagration of Latin star power, including pianist Oscar Hernandez
, timbalero Ralph Irizarry
, Marc Quiñones
, and drummer Robby Ameen
. The pedigree of musicianship shows through in the flawless, achingly funky grooves and virtuosic solos. Blades
proves himself not only to be a master musician, but also a wonderful communicator and entertainer, as is evident in his often humorous interactions with the crowd. The unacquainted will be won over, and dedicated fans will hear their beloved cantante as never before.