Ignored Obscured Restored
Ray Barretto was a Puerto Rican conga drummer that released dozens of Latin albums between 1960 and his death in 2006. He was a sought after session musician for many great names in the jazz world, including Kenny Burrell (Barretto played on August 5th, 2017, SotW “Chitlins Con Carne”), Billy Cobham (on his landmark Spectrum album), Dizzy Gillespie, Yusef Lateef, Herbie Mann, Wes Montgomery, Sonny Stitt and Weather Report.
But he also left his mark on popular music; appearing on recordings by The Bee Gees and Eddie Harris and performing as part of the Fania Allstars at the 1979 Havana Jam with the likes of Bonnie Bramlett, Rita Coolidge, Billy Joel, Kris Kristofferson, and Stephen Stills.
In his book 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die, Tom Moon chose Barretto’s Barretto Power (1972) as a “must find” listen. Today’s SotW is “Oye la noticia” (“Hear the news”) from that album.
Moon says this about the song:
“Oye la noticia” …begins as a medium-tempo dance tune, but right around the three-minute mark, Barretto breaks into a marathon conga roll that sends an unmistakable signal: Change is coming. The percussionists heed his call. Within seconds, they begin smacking the rhythm around, adding inspired jabs. These don’t simply outline the beat but pummel it into submission with phrases that require both brute strength and tremendous dexterity.
This tune was designed to get you up, on your feet, and dancing. So stand up and shake it!
Enjoy… until next week.