|Harlem, New York City,
Apollo Theatre, beginning of the 50's : that evening, the young Ray
Barretto, son of Portorican immigrants, is slapping on congas with the band
ensuring the first part of Charlie Parker, the genious of be
bop. By hearing him,
Charlie Parker retains Ray in his group for the concert of the evening.
|Since, the cubop, mixture of bop and Latin rhythms, passed through, and much
water ran in East River. Latin jazz took its rise, and Ray Barretto is one of the Masters.
It should be said that, born in 1929 in New York, his child's ear had been formed to the sound of radio, and had thus seen the time of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and some other swing giants. Going against other latino percussionnists, jazz was calling him, and his course is atypical : going from jazz towards Afro-Cuban, and not the reverse.
It is perhaps this particular approach which endows his originality, and which makes the greatest jazzmen sought him : Dizzy Gillespie, Wes Montgomery, Lou Donaldson, Roy Haynes, Donald Byrd, Max Roach,...
Later on, his roots excite his mind : he raps then by the side of Tito Puente, availing himself to become one of the brightest star of salsa, after a crossing of boogaloo and multiple experiments, which are fully related by forty records.
For some time, Barretto returns to his first love, and his group New World Spirit is the emanation: one does not really know if it's Latin jazz, or latino jazz.
Actually, Ray " Hard Hands " Barretto invents his modern road, a foot in each dirt track :
" I think that the guajira and the blues are linked by powerful links. They are the fruit of the workers, of those which cut canes in Cuba and Puerto Rico, or of those which pick cotton in the Deep South. Music, ultimately, is the reflection of these people; and is more beautiful when springing up from the people ".
© 1997-1999 Hot Salsa
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