Gato Barbieri

The Best of the Early Years

(CD - RCA #63523)

Review by

This sampler has music from four of tenor saxophonist Gato Barbieri's releases for RCA and Flying Dutchman. Included are three of the five numbers originally on Fenix, two of five from Under Fire, and two of six from Bolivia, plus "El Gato" from the album of the same name; all four of the albums could have been reissued in full as a definitive two-CD set. The music is fiery, passionate, and quite stirring since this was Barbieri's prime era, a period of time when he effectively mixed in melodies and rhythms from his native Argentina into his explosive brand of post-bop jazz. Barbieri (who really caresses some of these melodies) is joined on various selections by keyboardist Lonnie Liston Smith, John Abercrombie, Stanley Clarke, Roy Haynes, and percussionists Airto and Nana Vasconcellos. "El Gato" has Barbieri joined by a nonet arranged by Oliver Nelson. Until the albums are reissued in full, this is a fine sampling of Gato Barbieri's RCA/Flying Dutchman output.

blue highlight denotes track pick