The Jazzcat

Latin Jazz Legend Ray Barretto has passed

by on Feb.17, 2006, under News

New York, NY – February 17, 2006 – Family spokesperson

George Rivera announced this morning that Ray Barretto died at the

Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, N.J. at 5 a.m.


nearly 40 years, conguero and bandleader Ray Barretto has been one of

the leading forces in Latin jazz. His hard, compelling playing style

has graced the recordings of saxophonists Gene Ammons, Lou Donaldson,

Sonny Stitt, and guitarists Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell.


April 29, 1929, in Brooklyn, Barretto is one of the most prolific and

influential Latin percussionists in the history of modern jazz. With a

musical heritage as deeply rooted in the bebop jam sessions held in

Harlem during the late-'40s as in his Puerto Rican ancestry, Barretto

has spent over four decades refining the integration of Afro-Caribbean

rhythms with the improvisational elements of jazz. Coincidentally, it

was the tune “Manteca” recorded by Gillespie with Chano Pozo on

percussion that drove Barretto to music. And it was a version of that

same tune that became Barretto’s first recording with Red Garland.


artists have been as successful over the years at fusing these two

genres as Barretto, an undisputed master of this style. A pioneer of

the salsa movement, Barretto achieved international superstardom and

released nearly two dozen albums with the Fania label from the

late-'60s until salsa's popularity peaked in the mid-1980's.



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