The RDV Group InfoSec Blog

Friday, February 24, 2006

Goodbye to a Jazz Master

If you're into Latin jazz, you probably know that percussionist Ray Barretto died last Friday (2/17) at the age of 76. He was honored last month as a Jazz Master by the NEA at the International Association of Jazz Educators annual conference in NYC, which I attended. He fell ill on the way home from the event, and never recovered.

His life was more than the history of Latin jazz in America, in one way or another he was there during the major milestones of jazz. He was originally from the Bronx and was self-taught on the drums. "... After four years with Puente, he was one of the most sought-after percussionists in New York, attending jam sessions with artists including Max Roach and Art Blakey and recording with Sonny Stitt, Lou Donaldson, Red Garland, Gene Ammons, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Cannonball Adderley, Freddie Hubbard (JM), Cal Tjader, and Dizzy Gillespie. Barretto was so much in demand that in 1960, he was a house musician for the Prestige, Blue Note, and Riverside record labels".

The Times has nice piece on his wake last Tuesday (2/22): "
... I'm here because Ray Barretto was the best congero in the world," said Eddie Karimbo, 68, referring in Spanish to Mr. Barretto's mastery of the conga drum...There was the jazz pianist Randy Weston and Latin music stars like the percussionist Bobby Sanabria. There were other Latin men in sharp suits carrying instrument cases... Mr. Weston recalled hanging out with Mr. Barretto together with Max Roach and Charlie Parker".

As the old guard disappears, and the young lions grow up, it's important to take the time and consider where we've come from, and what we owe.


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