Ray Barretto

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While it is literally impossible aesthetically to sum up the work the late great Ray Barretto did for Tico and Fania on a single volume, this nugget makes a valiant attempt (Fania's double-disc overview Indestructible, while solid musically, still fell short). There are 16 cuts here, covering everything form the boogaloo years to the salsa and Latin jazz years to the more expansive vision Barretto had for Latin music as it moved toward the end of the 20th century. And as such, while punters can argue about what was left off versus what was put on (those are usually fruitless arguments), this compilation's producers have done a fine if not brilliant job of encapsulating the career of a bona fide musical legend who is every bit the equivalent of a Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Chuck Berry, Stevie Wonder, or even a Dizzy Gillespie. This is recommended as a good introduction to the work of Barretto, a man who, along with Eddie Palmieri, changed Latin music -- and therefore American music -- forever.

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