Sunday, January 10, 2016

Ray Barretto 1979 "La Cuna"

Producer Creed Taylor has inspired everything from praise to anger among jazz fans. His work has been brilliant at times, detrimental at others (his worst flaw being a tendency to overproduce). Taylor plays a mostly positive role on La Cuna, a jazz-oriented effort uniting Ray Barretto with such first-class talent as Tito Puente (timbales) and the late Joe Farrell (tenor & soprano sax, flute). As slick as things get at times on La Cuna (originally released on vinyl by Taylor's CTI label and reissued on CD in 1995), Taylor wisely gives the players room to blow on everything from the haunting "Doloroso" and the driving "Cocinando" (a piece by Carlos Franzetti that shouldn't be confused with Barretto's major salsa/cha-cha hit) to a somewhat Gato Barbieri-ish take on Mussorgsky's "The Old Castle." Barretto successfully moves into soul territory on Stevie Wonder's "Pastime Paradise" (which rapper Coolio recast as his hit "Gangsta's Paradise" in 1994). Barretto may hate the term "Latin jazz," but make no mistake: La Cuna is one of his most memorable contributions to that genre. All Music

For those looking for Salsa this record will dissapoint. In fact Ray Barretto offers us a supreme effort by some of the finest musicians of the time and the result is in my opinion some of the best latin jazz funk ever recorded. In many ways this is more exciting and adventurous music than the salsa hits that Barretto can produce on a whim. Any wonder that "Pastime Paradise" and "The Old Castle" consistently make the most saught-after latin jazz and rare funk compilations and dj playlists? In fact these tunes boast white hot guitar by a brilliant John Tropea, Charlie Palmieri's tasty piano on "La Cuna" & "Pastime Paradise" Tito Puente swingin' on "Cocinando" and Joe Farell on sax reminiscent of Gato Barbieri, as exciting as it is melodic and passionate, just check out "The Old Castle". I'll ride this elevator any time!!!  By Michael Saltiel

I bought the vinyl album version when it first came out back in '81 (I think). I was overseas on a military base and with some friends, played latin music on our time off. When we got our hands on this at the BX, we went nuts as Barretto is one of the greatest congueros ever. The music on here is just incredible - it ranges from a soft, melancholy ballad, to an uptempo furious set that will leave you drenched in sweat. It also contains an excellent cover of Stevie Wonder's "Pastime Paradise" with Willy Torres doing a nice job on vocals. "Cocinando" on the CD was not on the vinyl album - it's a bonus track - and what a bonus! A very uptempo and furious jam session - if you like to play congas or percussion in general, you will love this track - it will leave your hands raw. As another reviewer noted, this is not the same track as Ray's salsa song by the same name. For those of you looking for Salsa, this CD IS NOT IT! It's Latin Jazz - and excellent Latin Jazz at that with some of the best Jazz musicians around. With a lineup of Joe Farrell, Tito Puente, Charlie Palmieri, Jeremy Wall, John Tropea, Steve Gadd, and others, this is a classic, period. Enjoy. By NYCSteeler  

An all star crew: Barretto (master conga player and true pioneer); Puente (the king of latin music, best timbalero ever and great musical conductor), Tropea (I always enjoyed his solos in Deodato's albums); Steve Gadd (a kick ass drummer, the white version of Lenny White); Joe Farrell (a fantastic flute and sax player; a classic studio musician who I enjoyed when playing with Corea); and, Charlie Palmieri (a tremendous piano player with identical genes of his brother Eddie). "La Cuna" - spanish for The Cradle. It figures... Great album. Que VIVA Barretto!.  By Alberto Rodriguez.

Track listing:

1     La Cuna     5:08
2     Doloroso     5:55
3     Mambotango     5:57
4     The Old Castle     8:40
5     Pastime Paradise     8:31


Ray Barretto (congas, percussion);
Willy Torres (vocals);
Joe Farrell (tenor & soprano saxophones, flute);
Carlos Franzetti (piano);
Charlie Palmieri (piano, percussion);
Jeremy Wall, Suzanne Ciani (synthesizers);
John Tropea (guitar);
Francisco Centeno (bass);
Steve Gadd, Mark Craney (drums);
Tito Puente (timbales). 



  2. Thanks for this record and your fine introduction