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Barretto transformed what was originally an obscure Cuban folk tune into a smash hit. It remains as forceful as it is catchy. In many ways, this album displays an older and wiser Barretto. Having ridden the youth-oriented boogaloo craze of the '60s, Barretto no longer saw the need to shout or rush himself. The music exudes contentment and exquisiteness. For a long time, Barretto had wrestled with questions of what to do and where to go next. The cleansing fanfares of “Eso Es Amar” and “Vale Mas Un Guaguanco” suggest a king who's learned to slow down and bask in his accomplishment. Though the horns had unquestionably become the lifeblood of the conguero’s music, Barretto closes with an epic of pure percussion. “Canto Abacua” is delivered with an intensity intended to silence any critics who might have whispered that Barretto was losing his edge.


Born: April 29, 1929 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Salsa y Tropical

Years Active: '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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Barretto, Ray Barretto
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