Ray Barretto





:: Conga and Jazz Innovator


   Fania All Stars and  Ray Barretto


Barretto was born on 29 April 1929, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, of Puerto Rican parents. Noted for his many years as a prominent Latin bandleader, his music career actually began as a studio performer on the conga for jazz recording sessions.


He was raised in the Latin ghettos of East Harlem and the Bronx, in an environment filled with music of Puerto Rico but with a love for the swing bands of Ellington, Basie and Goodman. He escaped the ghetto by joining the United States Army when he was 17 years old, but he did not escape the music.


Influenced by a record of Dizzy Gillespie, "Manteca", with conguero Chano Pozo. He was hooked and he knew then that his calling was was to become a professional musician. Barretto sat in on jam sessions held at the Orlando, a GI jazz club in Munich, Germany. After military service in 1949, he returned to Harlem and taught himself how to play the drums.


His next eight albums between 1963 and 1966 thrashed around in various directions and consistently eluded commercial success. The musical merit of some of his recorded work from this period was not appreciated until years later. His fortunes changed when he signed to Fania Records in 1967. He dropped violins for an all-brass frontline and made the R&B- and jazz-flavoured Acid, which won him major popularity among Latin audiences for the first time.

                                                       (Courtesy of musicofpuetrorico.com)



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