Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

504

Ray Barretto: Acid

By

Sign in to view read count
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 remains one of the most far-out fusions of Latin and soul music ever conceived.

Catchy as hell, the records four original Latin/soul numbers ("Mercy, Mercy Baby", "The Soul Drummers", "A Deeper Shade of Soul" and "Teacher of Love") are obscure classics loaded with plenty of vintage '60s soul references—punchy James Brown and Stax Records sounding horns, thickly grooving bass lines, fat-back drums, and cliché soul catch-phrases such as "What I say," "Lord have mercy," "Come on, come on baby" and "Sock it to me!"

El Nuevo Barretto (The New Barretto)" opens the album on familiar ground, with its high-energy boogaloo-styled salsa sung passionately in Spanish. With the second track, "Mercy, Mercy Baby," the sound shifts dramatically as soul gets a serious drenching in hot sauce. The band chants "Mercy, Mercy Baby" behind Memphis-styled horns, catchy lyrics, timbales, and Barretto's kicking congas. The title track, "Acid," opens up sparsely with a lazy hypnotic bass and percussion groove over which stretches the muted trumpet sounds of Rene Lopez (who was soon to be drafted and shipped off to Vietnam). After a rock-steady timbales solo by Orestes Vilato, the band begins calling out "Barretto, Barretto," and master Ray steps forward, obliging them with one of his most fiery and intense conga solos ever. The lyrics on "The Soul Drummers" totally sums up the record: "Have you heard them cooking / The Soul Drummers / well they play so cool / Soul Drummers / so hard to resist / Soul Drummers / with the African twist."

The album's most psychedelic soul sounds can be heard on its closing track, the appropriately titled "Espiritu Libre (Free Spirit)." This instrumental opens with some pretty far out-there trumpet statements that sound as if they could've come straight off of Bitches Brew—pretty advanced stuff for a 1968 Latin record! The track builds into a full blown drum-heated jam flavored with odd rhythmic time-signatures, passionate brass, and feverish bass lines, bringing the album to a satisfying peak that leaves you in bad need of a smoke.

Acid turned on a lot of important players with its irresistible blending of Latin and soul music, significantly helping to bring about the rise of the Afro-Latin funk revolution.

Tracks 1. El Nuevo Barretto (Barretto) - 5:50 2. Mercy, Mercy, Baby (Barretto) - 2:44 3. Acid (Barretto) - 5:05 4. Deeper Shade of Soul (Barretto) - 2:46 5. Soul Drummers (Barretto) - 3:48 6. Sola Te Dejare (Barretto/Lopez) - 3:49 7. Teacher of Love (Barretto/Cruz) - 2:27 8. Espiritu Libre (Barretto) - 8:27

Players Ray Barretto - Percussion, Congas, Vocals Big Daddy  -  Bass Rene Lopez  -  Trumpet Roberto Rodriguez  -  Trumpet Adalberto Santiago  -  Vocals, Bells Orestes Vilato  -  Timbales Pete Bonet  -  Vocals, Guiro


HERE IT NOW

—> This review first appeared at MustHear.com .

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Album Reviews
  • Jazz by Graham L. Flanagan
Multiple Reviews
Bailey's Bundles
Megaphone
Album Reviews
Must Hear Review
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Jazz

Jazz

Fania
2009

buy
 

Latin Soul Man

Abracadabra Music
2007

buy
 

Acid

Abracadabra Music
2006

buy
 

Acid / Head Sounds

Abracadabra Music
2003

buy
Homage to Art: Blakey and the Jazz Messengers

Homage to Art: Blakey...

Sunnyside Records
2003

buy

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Must Hear Review
Carla Bley's Lost Chords at Yoshi's
By Roy Strassman
September 28, 2005
Must Hear Review
Donald Byrd: Kofi
By John Ballon
November 4, 2003
Must Hear Review
Charles Lloyd: Forest Flower
By John Ballon
November 2, 2003
Must Hear Review
Ray Barretto: Acid
By John Ballon
October 31, 2003
Must Hear Review
Charlie Parker: Jam Sessions
By John Ballon
October 29, 2003
Must Hear Review
Armstrong & Ellington: The Great Summit
By John Ballon
October 29, 2003
Must Hear Review
Miles Davis: The Complete In A Silent Way Sessions
By John Ballon
October 27, 2003