Ray Barretto

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  • Indestructible

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About Ray Barretto

A trailblazing ambassador between the worlds of jazz and Latin music, Ray Barretto was a master percussionist who rose to international renown in the ‘60s and ‘70s as part of ‎Fania All-Stars. Born in 1929, Barretto was a Bronx kid of Puerto Rican descent, nourished by his mother's expansive jazz record collection from a young age. He enlisted in the Army at 17, but upon his return to the city began attending jazz jams, making a name for himself as a conga player and performing with the likes of Charlie Parker and Tito Puente. He scored a major hit with 1962's “El Watusi,” which eventually led Barretto to Fania Records, where he deepened the diasporic fusions of Son Cubano, Puerto Rican bomba, and American soul that became foundational to boogaloo and salsa. He released a string of hit albums including Acid (1968) and Indestructible (1975), touring extensively with the Fania All-Stars and stepping in as a session musician for The Rolling Stones and Bee Gees. While the ’90s saw him focus on jazz with his group New World Spirit, Barretto continued spreading musical joy around the world until his passing in 2006.

Brooklyn, NY, United States
April 29, 1929

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