Why was Ruben Blades included in the International Jazz Day Concert held in Istanbul April 30th? The other Latino representative invited was Eddie Palmieri, which I would think no one would argue is probably one of our best representatives of jazz at this moment.
The inclusion of Ruben Blades is surprising because, well, he’s not a jazz artist (duhh)! There are about 300 other Latin jazz artists that could have been a better selection for the concert. I have to think that name recognition had something to do with Blades selection, and that John Beasley, the event organizer, wanted to attract the Latin music audience to tune in to the concert by providing big name artists, whether they play jazz or not!
This is not a new concept! Salsa artists have been participating in Jazz events for quite some time. I’m not counting Eddie Palmieri here because Palmieri is a truly bi-lingual performer (he can play jazz as well as salsa with his band). But the non-jazz artists inclusion in Jazz concerts in not limited to Salsa. Pop artists have also been participating in Jazz events for some time now. The New Orleans Jazz Fest just featured Billy Joel and Maroon 5! But that’s a topic for tomorrow’s blog.
I’m glad Latin music was well represented in the International Jazz Day concert, although I would have selected another Latino jazz artists instead of Ruben Blades.
Further Reading…read the NPR interview with International Jazz Day concert organizer John Beasley HERE.