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Can You Feel It

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Many pure salsa and Latin jazz fans have a difficult time with Ray Barretto's Atlantic Records period in the late 1970s because he was making a deliberate run at the crossover jazz/dance music charts. Who better to strive for such a thing? Barretto established his bona fides in jazz two decades earlier — and returned to them time and again until the end of his life. He was also one of the prime innovators in New York's salsa explosion, and even played on pop records as a sideman. His credits are book-length. 1978's Can You Feel It? finds him delivering fusion, jazz-funk, and smooth, dancefloor-oriented soul tunes. It is a diverse and sometimes unfocused album played by Todd Anderson on saxophones, Richie Morales on drums, Howard Schneider on piano and synth, Eddie Rivera and Neil Stubenhaus on bass, Jeff Richman on guitar, and a slew of percussionists and others in addition the leader. Hardcore music fans may recognize some of these names as personnel in bands led by Sly & Donny Hathaway. There are also a number of vocalists, including Cissy Houston and Prince Phillip Mitchell. The latter delivers the fine pop-soul performance on "What Part of Heaven Do You Come From?" Given the glistening production on the title track's smooth dancefloor soul, one can judge that the overall sound here is warm, full, and bright — right in line with Atlantic's R&B aesthetic of the era. Pair that with killer fusion tunes such as "Whirlpool," "Daydreams," and "Confrontation," and it becomes — in the best way possible — a head scratcher. Other highlights on this date include the party funk of "Stargazer" and the punchy "Sting Ray." Despite a rather schizophrenic sequence, Can You Feel It? sounds better in the 21st century than it did at the time. Here, Barretto proved himself unwilling to simply fulfill audience expectations at the cost of his own creative enrichment.


Född: 29 april 1929 i Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Salsa y Tropical

Aktiva år: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

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...
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Can You Feel It, Ray Barretto
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