Ray Barretto

Barretto Power

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Back into a mostly traditional bag by 1972, Ray Barretto served notice that his was the heavyweight band in the salsa scene with this LP. Aside from the devastating three-man trumpet line (Roberto Rodriguez, Rene Lopez, Papy Roman) and Adalberto Santiago's vocals (plus chorus), Barretto Power is entirely a rhythm-section record, lean and economical yet no less powerful for it. The compositions are mostly group originals, and range from the leader's salsa-fied opener, "Oye la Noticia," to Rodriguez's chorus-heavy "Perla del Sur" to a pair of slightly modernized horn-led numbers, "Right On" and the closer, "Power" (the latter being Exhibit A should any listeners doubt the claim in the title). Pianist Luis Cruz contributes an affectionate yet stately ballad, "Se Que Volveras," and the trumpets never fail to come together, even when they're diverging along creative harmonic lines. Barretto Power isn't a flashy record; earlier triumphs like Acid and Hard Hands earned Barretto more notices than this one ever did. Still, it's as good a proof of Barretto's strength as any record in his discography.

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