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Ray Barretto: Jazz

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Although both of his parents were full-blooded Puerto Ricans, Ray Barretto was as American as they come. Born in Brooklyn, by the age of seven he had already resided in that borough, as well as Spanish Harlem and the Bronx. His biological lineage, combined with the place he was born and raised, gives new meaning to the concept of Latin jazz. Fania honors his legacy with a compilation featuring ten of the strongest works he recorded for the label. Before his immensely successful solo career, Barretto worked his way into the popular jazz arena as the go-to percussionist ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Ray Barretto: Que Viva La Musica, Indestructible & Live at the Red Garter, Vol. 1 & 2

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Ray Barretto Que Viva La Musica Fania 2006 Ray Barretto Indestructible Fania 2006 Fania All-Stars Live at the Red Garter, Vol. 1 Fania 2006 Fania All-Stars Live at the Red Garter, Vol. 2 Fania 2006

Well-known in jazz circles for his early work as a ubiquitous sideman with the likes of Gene Ammons, Kenny Burrell, ...

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Zoho Music: Latin Jazz, New York City Style

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Zoho Music has established itself as the pre-eminent purveyor of Latin jazz. Resurrected from the ashes of the former Khaeon label by Jochen Becker, Zoho boasts a stable of renowned and diverse musicians. Here are three of the best recordings recently released by the label.

Ray Barretto Standards Rican-ditioned Zoho Music 2006

Standards Rican-onditioned was the last recording released by New York percussionist Ray Barretto before his death in February 2006. It is a fine recital intended to dispel the myth that Latin musicians could only perform strictly Latin ...

MEGAPHONE

Remembering Ray Barretto

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By David Amram When Ray and I first met and played together in the Fall of 1955 at the Monday night sessions at the 125 club in Harlem, Ray was the only conga player and I was the only French horn player who always showed up. We used to always laugh because we were surrounded by a small army of great musicians who played what were then considered traditional jazz instruments. When Ray was complimented for being able to play with anyone and always be perfectly in tune, he would say ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ray Barretto: Time Was - Time Is

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Ray Barretto continues to refine his brand of swinging, Latin-inflected jazz with each succeeding release. On Time Was - Time Is, the venerable conguero leads a polished instrumental ensemble featuring Joe Magnarelli on trumpet and Myron Walden on alto with Robert Rodriguez at the piano and Sean Conly and Vince Cherico on bass and drums. The set kicks off with a couple of Afro-Cuban classics. Bobby Sanabria joins the group on percussion to emphasize the folkloric rhythms of the opening “Drume Negrita (a staple of the Palladium Ballroom era) and joins Barretto on the ghostly chant that ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ray Barretto: Time Was - Time Is

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The Ray Barretto Sextet delivers. It turns a program of traditional songs and original pieces into a performance of modern jazz designed to inspire. The conguero, who knows about finding rich talent, has put together a stellar ensemble that performs with cohesion, precision, and passion.

It's been nearly fifty years since Barretto replaced Mongo Santamaria in Tito Puente's ensemble. During his varied career he's experienced jazz from every angle: from traditional Latin to funk, bebop, and straight-ahead. With Time Was: Time Is, he explores the modern mainstream from a Latin jazz perspective. Each piece carries emotional flavors while ...

MUST HEAR REVIEW

Ray Barretto: Acid

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By the time 1968 rolled around, Ray Barretto was a celebrated studio session player whose hard-driving conga rhythms could be heard all over the records of Dizzy Gillespie, Cal Tjader, Cannonball Adderley, and countless others. Once he dropped Acid onto the music world, Barretto firmly established a reputation for himself as an innovator in his own right.

Like the drug itself, Acid had a mind-expanding influence on everyone, allowing for a far more adventurous and eclectic edge to slip into New York's Latin music scene. A lot less psychedelic than its title and cover might lead you to believe, Acid ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ray Barretto: Homage to Art: Blakey and the Jazz Messengers

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Quick and to the Point: Old sages die like they play: hard... very hard....

Art Blakey bolstered his musical cause by endlessly refreshing his Jazz Messengers with youthful, eager, and determined virtuosi carefully embedded amongst old hands. Ray Barretto, whose early professional path shared saunters with Blakey, implements a similar strategy to ever-growing and maturing effect, even as Wayne Shorter’s compositions dominate this kind memorial from one percussive master to another.

Arguably, this might be Barretto’s best jazz yet. It lends fantastic performances in shoring up the arranging work d’art by pianist Luis Perdomo. He ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ray Barretto and New World Spirit: Trancedance

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Ray Barretto and New World Spirit are one of the finest ensembles in Latin jazz and on the elegantly swinging “Trancedance" they prove why throughout. The date opens with a simply wonderful arrangement of a simply wonderful Monty Alexander tune, “Renewal". Pianist John Di Martino's solo is a delight, as is the playing of special guest James Moody, here and on the other four numbers he contributes to. Trumpeter John Baily and the tireless percussion section shine on the Randy Weston classic “Hi-Fly". Former NWS trumpeter Michael Mossman's arrangement of Barretto's title track should be recognized as an instant modern ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ray Barretto And New World Spirit: Contact!

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Internationally renowned bandleader, conguero, and percussionist, Ray Barretto and his ensemble New World Spirit continue their tradition of jazz excellence on Contact!. Released in 1997 on Blue Note/EMI, their fifth CD is a conscious break from the dance-oriented Ray Barretto Orchestra many of his fans may remember in that Contact! explores the deeply personal musical relationships throughout the phases of Barretto's career. Songs masterfully syncretized and utilizing Barretto's unique musical vocabulary -- including call-and-response, cubop rhythms and 4/4 swing -- the 10-track - CD ignites a sensual fire on “Dance of Denial,"a melodic, mid-tempo piece that showcases brilliant solos by ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ray Barretto & New World Spirit: Contact!

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Imagine being a superstar in Latin music, then accepting a major pay cut for your decision to focus primarily on jazz. That's exactly what happened with Ray Barretto, who has kept his jazz oriented New World Spirit band together for almost a decade despite the fact that--let's face it--many of those who know him for major salsa hits like “Guarare," “Que Viva La Musica" and “Cocinando" have little or no interest in jazz. But Barretto and Spirit have toughened it out--and excellent albums like Spirit (his first for Blue Note after recording for Concord and Owl) make us glad. I ...



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