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Salsa Big Band

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Salsa Big Band
Salsa Big Band.jpg
Studio album by Rubén Blades and Roberto Delgado & Orquesta
Released 29 April 2017 (2017-04-29)
Recorded January–April 2017 at the PTY Studios Panamá
(Panama City)
  • Spanish
Label Rubén Blades Productions
Producer Roberto Delgado
Rubén Blades and Roberto Delgado & Orquesta chronology
Son de Panamá
(2015)Son de Panamá2015
Salsa Big Band

Salsa Big Band is a studio album by Panamanian singer Rubén Blades and Roberto Delgado & Orquesta, released on 29 April 2017 by Rubén Blades Productions. After the release of Son de Panamá in 2015, also recorded with Delgado & Orquesta, Blades decided to record another album with them, on which Blades included eleven songs. He had previously recorded nine of the songs, and two were covers of songs written by Luis Demetrio and René Touzet. Delgado was the producer for the album. Blades' principal inspiration for the album was his admiration for the work of Puerto Rican performers such as Tito Puente, Tito Rodríguez and Willie Rosario, and the Big band sound of the 1950s.

Salsa Big Band received favorable reviews from music critics, with critics praising Blades' vision and willingness "to try new sounds"; one said that Blades was "still at the top of the salsa world". At the 18th Annual Latin Grammy Awards, the album won for Album of the Year and Best Salsa Album; and at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards the record won for Best Tropical Latin Album.


Panamanian singer Rubén Blades recorded Son de Panamá with Roberto Delgado & Orquesta in 2015; it earned the Latin Grammy Award for Best Salsa Album and the Grammy Award for Best Tropical Latin Album.[1] Salsa Big Band is the second album recorded by Blades with Delgado & Orquesta. It is mainly inspired by the musical work of Puerto Rican performers Tito Puente, Tito Rodríguez and Willie Rosario.[2] According to Blades, "I decided to include more instruments to the arrangements, since I want to recover the Big band sound from the 50's, with Stan Kenton, Machito and Mario Bauzá".[2]

Repertoire and recording

Salsa Big Band includes eleven tracks, nine written by Blades and two by other composers: "Apóyate en Mi Alma" by Luis Demetrio, and "No Te Importe Saber" by René Touzet. "Arayué" was written by Blades but first released by Ray Barretto in 1989, while "El Pescador" was recorded in 1970 by Blades with the Pete Rodríguez band.[3] "Nadie Sabe", includes biographical lyrics by Blades, and was first recorded by Roberto Roena and the Apollo Sound in 1977.[4] "La Marea" was recorded by Blades in 1988 and included on his album Antecedentes, while "Claro Oscuro" is taken from Agua de Luna (1987) and "Lo Pasado No Perdona" from El Que La Hace La Paga (1983).[4] "Contra La Corriente" was previously recorded by Blades and Willie Colón for their album Tras la Tormenta (1995).[5]

The album was recorded at the PTY Studios Panamá from January to April 2017, and was mixed by Ignacio Molino, Pablo Governatori and Roberto Delgado, and mastered by Daniel Ovie in Buenos Aires, Argentina.[5] The songs "Claro Oscuro" and "La Marea" were recorded for this album in salsa, and "Lo Pasado No Perdona" is a bolero/montuno.[3] "Antadilla" is a song about the daily tasks of a fisherman that guarantees his personal and family support that way.[3] “El Pescador" is a montuno, with a flugelhorn solo by Wichy López.[3] Delgado began working on the musical arrangements at the end of 2015, and went to record the album on January 2017.[7] Delgado said of the creative process "Rubén [Blades] always contributes with innovative ideas to the music that is currently being made. This time he thought that it would be a great idea to recover the sound of the big bands, which is no longer done, since it is very difficult to have such a large orchestra and travel with it, then everyone tries to record with the minimum amount of instruments."[7] Seventeen musicians worked on the recording, in addition to the backing singers, and some musicians played two or more instruments.[7] The producers found it necessary to hire local musicians in order to "be faithful to its original sound." Delgado said to CBA24N.[7]


Upon its release, Salsa Big Band received favorable reviews from music critics. Omar Walker of Salsa Power named the album an "excelllent recording" even though the singer showed some decline in his vocals. Walker said Blades' "vision as an artist pushes him to try new sounds".[4] For Angel Romero of World Music Central, "Rubén Blades is still at the top of the salsa world", and the album is "a candidate for one of the best albums of the year".[8] Roberto Carlos Lujan of Solar Latin Club was critical about the repertoire: "none of the versions of the songs previously recorded by Blades are enriched with innovative interpretative bets, with the exception of 'El Pescador'".[3]

The album received two nominations for the 18th Annual Latin Grammy Awards, for Album of the Year and Best Salsa Album. Blades said to La Prensa that he took nominations very seriously since his album Siembra (which included his signature songs "Pedro Navaja" and "Plástico") was overlooked, "it is not that the album lost the award, it wasn't even nominated".[9] Salsa Big Band won both accolades, and during his acceptance speech, Blades dedicated the award to his native Panama.[10][11] Salsa Big Band also won for Best Tropical Latin Album at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards.[12]

Track listing

No. Title Writer(s) Arranger(s) Length
1. "Arayué"
  • Roberto Delgado
2. "Apóyate en Mi Alma"
  • Delgado
3. "Nadie Sabe"
  • Blades
  • Delgado
4. "Claro Oscuro"
  • Blades
  • Delgado
5. "El Pasado No Perdona"
  • Blades
  • Delgado
6. "La Marea"
  • Blades
  • Delgado
7. "El Pescador"
  • Blades
  • Delgado
8. "Antadilla"
  • Blades
  • Delgado
9. "¿Adónde?"
  • Blades
  • Baden Goyo
  • Delgado
10. "No Te Importe Saber"
  • Delgado
11. "Como Un Huracán"
  • Blades
  • Delgado


  • Credits adapted from the album official website.[2]

Release history

Region Date Format Edition(s)
Mexico[13] April 29, 2017 Digital download Standard
United States[14]

Credits and personnel

The following credits are from Salsa Big Band album liner notes.[2]

Roberto Delgado & Orquesta

Performance credits

  • Rubén Blades; lead performer, vocals
  • Ricky Rodríguez; piano
  • Juan Carlos de León; piano
  • Robinson Fereira; piano
  • Pablo Governatori; drums

Technical credits

  • Rubén Blades; executive producer
  • Roberto Delgado; arranger, mixer and producer
  • Ignacio Molino; mixer
  • Pablo Governatori; mixer
  • Daniel Ovie; mastering
  • Luis Carlos García; photography
  • Rodolfo Palomino; photography
  • Orosmán de la Guardia; graphic design


  1. ^ Domínguez, Daniel (February 15, 2016). "Blades y Delgado ganan el Grammy por el disco Son de Panama". La Prensa (in Spanish). Editorial Por La Democracia, S.A. Retrieved November 16, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Salsa Big Band". April 29, 2017. Retrieved November 2, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Lujan, Roberto Carlos. "Rubén Blades & Roberto Delgado y Orquesta – Salsa Big Band". Solar Latin Club. Solar Latin Club. Retrieved November 2, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c Walker, Omar. "Salsa Big Band — Ruben Blades con Roberto Delgado y Orquesta". Salsa Power. Retrieved November 16, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b López Pérez, José (May 15, 2017). "Salsa Big Band nuevo disco de Rubén Blades con la Orquesta de Roberto Delgado". No Solo Cine. Retrieved November 16, 2017. 
  6. ^ "Select Winners of 18th Annual Latin Grammy Awards". U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News & World Report, L.P. November 16, 2017. Retrieved May 24, 2018. 
  7. ^ a b c d Ávila, José. "Rubén Blades y su Salsa Big Band". cba24n. Servicios de Radio y Televisión de la UNC. Retrieved November 2, 2017. 
  8. ^ Romero, Angel (September 14, 2017). "Rubén Blades' Tribute to Legendary Latin Music Big Bands". World Music Central. Retrieved November 16, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Rubén Blades ganan el Grammy Latino por Mejor Álbum de Salsa". La Prensa (in Spanish). Editorial Por La Democracia, S.A. November 16, 2017. Retrieved November 16, 2017. 
  10. ^ Aguila, Justino (November 16, 2016). "Latin Grammys Early Wins: 'Despacito' Reigns, Eduardo Cabrera Takes Producer of the Year & Residente Wins Best Urban Music Album". Billboard. Eldridge Industries. Retrieved November 17, 2017. 
  11. ^ Aguila, Justino (November 17, 2016). "Latin Grammys: 'Despacito' Is King, Ruben Blades Wins Album of the Year, Eduardo Cabra Named Producer of the Year". Billboard. Eldridge Industries. Retrieved November 17, 2017. 
  12. ^ Lynch, Joe (November 28, 2017). "Grammys 2018: See the Complete List of Nominees". Billboard. Eldridge Industries. Retrieved November 28, 2017. 
  13. ^ "Salsa Big Band by Rubén Blades & Roberto Delgado & Orquesta". iTunes Store (Mexico). Retrieved November 17, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Salsa Big Band by Rubén Blades & Roberto Delgado & Orquesta". iTunes Store (United States). Retrieved November 17, 2017. 
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