Friday, February 17, 2006

Ray Barretto 1929-2006

Ejazznews posts the sad news of Ray Barretto’s passing this morning. Barretto was a giant of Latin jazz, a first-call conguero whose percussion was highly sought after by jazz legends looking to add some Latin flavor to their sessions. He played with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Gene Ammons, Art Blakey, and Wes Montgomery.

Barretto lead scores of his own sessions, producing some of his strongest jazz work late in his career, with CDs like Homage to Art and Contact! Coincidently, Barretto also played on today’s featured LP from “Juan Calle.” His Latin jazz album of Bond themes entitled Senor 007, is another entertaining LP I might feature here in the future. Whatever the musical context, Barretto always played with passion.

Barretto’s contributions were recognized in his lifetime when the NEA named him one of the 2006 Jazz Masters in January.