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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke




RCA Victor Gold Series 09026638712


Gato Barbieri - tenor saxophone ( vocal track 4 )

Tracks 1 - 4 : Lonnie Liston Smith - piano; Chuck Rainey - electric bass; Bernard "Pretty" Purdie - drums; Sonny Morgan - conga; Nana Vasconcelos - percussion, berimbau.
Recorded June 18, 1971 at the Montreux Jazz Festival, Montreux, Switzerland.

Track 5 : Romeo Penque - alto flute, English horn; Phil Bodner - flute, alto flute; Danny Bank - bass clarinet; Oliver Nelson - alto saxophone, conductor, arranger ; Hank Jones - piano; David Spinozza - guitar ; Ron Carter - bass; Bernard " Pretty" Purdie - drums; Airto Moreira - percussion.
Recorded May 1972 at RCA Studios, New York City.

1. El Pampero
2. Mi Buenos Aires Querido
3. Brasil
4. El Arriero
5. El Gato

During the late 60's and early 70's Leandro "Gato" Barbieri achieved a level of fame quite unusual for a Jazz musician from the avant-garde school. This was largely due to his hugely successful soundtrack to the film "The Last Tango In Paris " which gained great notoriety during this period . It has been said that this composition became Gato's albatross, his career certainly took quite a dip when he returned to his Argentinean homeland, although his musical scope broadened as he became more aware of South American forms - particularly the tango. In recent years he has undergone something of a revival and his latest recordings are of a very high standard.
This disc features the Gato Barbieri group in a live performance at Montreux in 1971. Track 5 is a bonus and recorded in a studio in New York one year later. The material is typical fare from this era - all of a Latin nature and including the standard "Brazil." Perhaps the most distinctive aspect of Barbieri's playing is his tone on the tenor saxophone . It is a totally unique sound and the adjective which best describes it is passionate. His playing is often wild and overblown but highly effective nonetheless. He seems, at this period in his career , to have boundless energy and fire even on the slower numbers. In more recent times he sometimes adopts a smoother, more melodic approach to his improvisations, but either style is well worth listening to.
The accompanying musicians manage to match Gato's fire and there are some excellent passages from Lonnie Liston Smith on keyboard. Chuck Rainey seemed to be everyone's choice of bass player during this period and it is easy to see why with his driving style and yet superb sense of time. As would be expected, this record is heavy on percussion and it is a constant wonder to hear the variety of sound produced in these backdrops. This is essential Gato Barbieri !

Dick Stafford.



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