Over the years, Ray Barretto has commanded respect in two different genres: salsa and Latin jazz. Not surprisingly, his salsa recordings have been much bigger sellers than his Latin jazz recordings -- while artists of the latter genre usually play small clubs, the big names in salsa can easily pack a sports arena in areas with a large Cuban or Puerto Rican population. When this two-LP set came out in 1976, Barretto was a superstar in salsa -- although many of the salseros who loved him for "Guarare" and the cha-cha "Cocinando" (which was the basis for Poncho Sanchez's "Sonando") were less likely to spend money on one of his Latin jazz releases. So not surprisingly, salsa is the main focus of Tomorrow: Barretto Live, which was recorded at New York's Beacon Theater on May 28, 1976. Though the album includes a few Latin jazz instrumentals, most Barretto fans bought it to hear five-star performances of such salsa favorites as "Ahora Si Que Vamo A Gozar," "Guarare," "Cocinando," and "Ban Ban Quere" (which boasts a passionate performance by singer Ruben Blades). Meanwhile, percussionist Tito Puente joins Barretto's hard-swinging band on a 14-minute performance of "Que Viva La Musica." Superb from start to finish, Tomorrow: Barretto Live is among Barretto's essential recordings.
Tomorrow: Barretto Live Review
by Alex Henderson