Gato Barbieri

El Pampero

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This record chronicles a flavorful and unforgettable night during a live show recorded in Montreux, Switzerland. Gato Barbieri leads his fantastic group of musical friends with hurricane-like flair on his tenor sax. At times surreal and mind-boggling, Barbieri shows just how far one can let the music go to break the borders of jazz, sending his music into fresh and uncharted territory. Barbieri's chops and melodic sweeps are daring and bold, while the back crew brings vitality and utter life to the music, from the record's beginning to its very end. Within the first tune, "El Pampero," Barbieri plays a home tone riff over and over, changing only the keys of the song, with improvisation in between that gets the audience into dancing. Lonnie Liston Smith plays with great sweeping ease on the piano, while percussionists Pretty Purdie, Na-Na, and Sonny Morgan send their rhythms into soaring heights. A wondrous sense of dynamics is displayed here and throughout the record. The call and response between Na-Na and Morgan is a featured key ingredient, keeping the mood of the percussion section fluid and tight. Yes, the listeners were mesmerized, and one can feel lifted in spirit again with each playing of this recording. Perhaps the focus and direction of the music, which latched on greatly to the home key and initial melody, gives the music a more solid foundation. This was certainly a special night in Switzerland, in which Barbieri proudly shared his music, credited in a natural more than economic fashion, breathing spirit into the audience rather than taking money. For this performance was priceless, a can't-miss that left audience members bedazzled, talking among themselves years later, saying, "Do you remember when?...I was there!" With passion and faith in music, this group of musicians thrived here in this recorded moment, to demonstrate art, haunting art, vivid imagination, and victory in art.

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