Bespectacled and wearing a grin, his head thrown back, eyes closed, and hair disheveled, Ray Barretto hovers over multiple congas in this defining image of New York salsa. His long career followed a circular route from its beginnings in the world of jazz in the ‘50s, to the birth of salsa in the ‘60s and its maturation in the ‘70s and ‘80s, then back to (Latin) jazz in the ‘90s. A gentle giant with “hard hands,” Barretto was one of the crucial contributors to the development of the influential Latin music scene in New York City.
Born in New York City to Puerto Rican immigrants on April 29, 1929, he joined the army at the age of 18. While stationed in Germany, he was exposed to big band swing and Dizzy Gillespie, but... Read More