Français: : Great drummers

Barretto Ray

Musicians or bands:

New World Spirit, Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Fania All Stars, Kenny Burrell, Wes Montgomery, Cannonball Adderley, Ron Carter, The Bee Gees, George Benson, Art Blakey, Perez Prado, Bernard Lavilliers

Biography and commentary:

Born in 1929 in Brooklyn from Puerto Rican parents and raised in Hispanic neighborhoods of New York (Bronx, Harlem), Ray Barretto is very young bathed in Cuban and Puerto Rican music. Classical (swing) and modern (bop) jazz fan, which he can see the best representive and creators close to his home, he is considered as one of the initiators of the original blending of Latin jazz (with Chano Pozo and Dizzy Gilespie) by playing congas with Charlie Parker at jam sessions in the 50's. He is probably the inventor of the "swung" rumba. He will replace Mongo Santamaria (who founded his own group as a leader) in the orchestra of Tito Puente (considered the inventor of the salsa). With the famous band "Fania" (1967), the salsa style opens again to a new interbreeding: rhythm and blues and funk. He founded then his own orchestra (he is also a composer and arranger). Ray has always been at the “avant-garde” of his instrument which earned him sometimes the misunderstanding of his former fans (like Miles Davis) and it is entirely to his credit. His style had reached before his death, a level of maturity and density never equaled, in my opinion (compositional complexity and huge range of types of stroke). Ray passed away recently in 2006, he leaves us a monument of percussion and music.

Marc De Douvan, publication in French: January 3, 2006 (for the translation in English: July 12, 2015)

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© 2005 Marc de Douvan Crédits Mentions légales