8 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

After a golden 10-year partnership with the flagship Latin label Fania, Ray Barretto moved to Atlantic to produce the fusion-influenced Eye of the Beholder. The album was produced by members of the hit jazz-funk ensemble The Crusaders, who also appear as part of Barretto’s band. While purists decried Barretto’s move away from traditional Latin sounds, the conguero had long employed ideas of hybridization to fuel his music, and he shrewdly understood that the late '70s were a time of cultural evolution. Eye of the Beholder is slicker than Barretto’s work from the late '60s and early '70s, but that’s not a bad thing. His style makes for a seamless blend with The Crusaders. The jazz players brought glistening textures to Barretto’s arrangements, and in exchange he gave them a healthy dose of homegrown realism. Songs like “Here We Go Again,” “Expresso," and “Tumbao Africano” feel like they were written for fans of both Celia Cruz and Michael Jackson, who may not have understood just how much each had in common with the other.

EDITORS’ NOTES

After a golden 10-year partnership with the flagship Latin label Fania, Ray Barretto moved to Atlantic to produce the fusion-influenced Eye of the Beholder. The album was produced by members of the hit jazz-funk ensemble The Crusaders, who also appear as part of Barretto’s band. While purists decried Barretto’s move away from traditional Latin sounds, the conguero had long employed ideas of hybridization to fuel his music, and he shrewdly understood that the late '70s were a time of cultural evolution. Eye of the Beholder is slicker than Barretto’s work from the late '60s and early '70s, but that’s not a bad thing. His style makes for a seamless blend with The Crusaders. The jazz players brought glistening textures to Barretto’s arrangements, and in exchange he gave them a healthy dose of homegrown realism. Songs like “Here We Go Again,” “Expresso," and “Tumbao Africano” feel like they were written for fans of both Celia Cruz and Michael Jackson, who may not have understood just how much each had in common with the other.

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