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Ray Barretto

ON AIR
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Bio

While Ray Barretto's congas have graced more recording sessions than virtually any other conguero of his time, he has also led some refreshingly progressive Latin jazz bands over the decades. His records often have a more tense, more adventurously eclectic edge than those of most conventional salsa groups, unafraid to use electronics and novel instrumental or structural combinations, driven hard by his rocksteady, endlessly flexible percussion work. This no doubt reflects Barretto's wide range of musical interests and also the fact that he came to Latin music from jazz, rather than the usual vice versa route for Latin-descended musicians. Indeed, he has said that he learned how to play swing-style before he came to master Latin grooves. Puerto Rican by extraction, Barretto took up the congas while stationed in Germany during an Army hitch. He began working with American jazz musicians upon his return to New York, eventually replacing Mongo Santamaria in the Tito Puente band for four years, beginning in the late '50s. Barretto made his debut as a leader for Riverside in 1962 and scored a crossover hit (number 17 on the pop charts) the following year on Tico with "El Watusi" (in tandem with a dance craze of the time). He tried to modernize the charanga sound with injections of brass, covering rock and pop tunes of the time as several Latin artists did then. However, Barretto made his main mark in the '60s as a super session player, playing on albums by Gene Ammons, Cannonball Adderley, Kenny Burrell, Lou Donaldson, Red Garland, Dizzy Gillespie, Freddie Hubbard, Wes Montgomery, Cal Tjader, and several other jazz and pop albums. In moving over to the Fania label in 1967, Barretto began to achieve recognition as one of the leading Latin jazz artists of the day, eventually becoming music director of the Fania All-Stars. In the '70s, he was incorporating rock and funk influences into his music -- with only limited success -- while recording for Atlantic, and in 1981, he made a highly regarded album for CTI La Cuna, with Puente, Joe Farrell, and Charlie Palmieri as guest players. He became music director of the Bravisimo television program and took part in the multi-idiom, all-star, anti-apartheid Sun City recording and video in 1985. In 1992, he unveiled a new Latin jazz sextet, New World Spirit, which made some absorbingly unpredictable albums for Concord Picante. ~ Richard S. Ginell
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Albums by
Ray Barretto

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    28 songs

    On Air

    A Man and His Music: Que Viva La Musica

    35 songs

    On Air

    Versiones Originales, Vol. 1

    32 songs

    On Air

    El Cayuco

    10 songs

    On Air

    Cumbamba

    12 songs

    On Air

    El Bajo

    13 songs

    On Air

    Oye Heck

    14 songs

    On Air

    Mambo Gozon

    11 songs

    On Air

    El Ray Criollo

    11 songs

    On Air

    El Ray Criollo

    13 songs

    On Air

    Indestructible [Masterworks]

    10 songs

    On Air

    Señor 007

    10 songs

    On Air

    Time Was - Time Is

    10 songs

    On Air

    Taboo

    12 songs

    On Air

    Viva Watusi!

    6 songs

    On Air

    Latin Salsa: Best Of Ray Barretto

    7 songs

    On Air

    Que Viva La Musica

    9 songs

    On Air

    Latino con Soul

    8 songs

    On Air

    Indestructible

    8 songs

    On Air

    Energy to Burn

    9 songs

    On Air

    Standards Rican-ditioned

    6 songs

    On Air

    The Other Road

    8 songs

    On Air

    The Message

    7 songs

    On Air

    Aqui Se Puede

    8 songs

    On Air

    Giant Force

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Top Songs by
Ray Barretto

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   El Watusi
  3.   Greensleeves
  4.   Ahora Si
  5.   Guarare
  6.   Acid
  7.   No Me Paren la Salsa
  8.   De Donde Vengo
  9.   Ivy
  10.   Lean on Me
  11.   Arrepientete
  12.   Vale Mas un Guaguancó
  13.   Power
  14.   Right On
  15.   Sister Sadie featuring New World Spirit
  16.   Fever featuring New World Spirit
  17.   Hipocrecía y Falsedad
  18.   Fiesta en el Barrio
  19.   Strange Music
  20.   Watusi '65
  21.   Que Viva la Musica
  22.   Fuego y Pa' Lante
  23.   Time Was - Time Is
  24.   Oye la Noticia
  25.   El Hijo de Obatala
  26. See All Songs

Stations & Shows Featuring
Ray Barretto

    On Air

    Salsa y Cumbia

    On Air

    Acid Jazz

    On Air

    Jazz Christmas

    On Air

    Jazz

    On Air

    The Wolf Lounge

    On Air

    Classic Jazz [Non-Voc]

    On Air

    '60s Deep Dive