Music: Tiempos

Ruben Blades

Shunning the siren of commercial Latin pop, and probably a big payday too, the singer-actor-activist aims higher and crams his new CD with the same idealism and pan-Latin spirit that propelled his maverick run for the Panamanian presidency in 1994. The songs--stately, reflective--mingle salsa and jazz appealingly, and Blades' lyrics celebrate the nobility of the common man. Providing backup is the eclectic Costa Rican instrumental trio Editus, whose congas and strings bring a Caribbean-Latin flavor that parallels Blades' message.

--By David E. Thigpen

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