Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Gato Barbieri's Finest Hour
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Latin Music
Gato Barbieri possesses one of the most potent tenor saxophone sounds ever heard, a personal mix of throaty gravel and sweet, singing overtones that can grind its way through thickets of pulsing rhythm or soar overhead. Th... more »
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Gato Barbieri possesses one of the most potent tenor saxophone sounds ever heard, a personal mix of throaty gravel and sweet, singing overtones that can grind its way through thickets of pulsing rhythm or soar overhead. The tracks here come from 1973 to 1979 and cover both Barbieri's years with Impulse, when he was emphasizing Latin polyrhythms and heated improvisation, and the increasing pop emphasis of his years with A&M. "To Be Continued" and "Marissea" are the earliest performances, recorded in Barbieri's native Rio de Janeiro with the saxophonist ecstatically honking his way through a forest of indigenous percussion. The 10-minute version of "Bahia" from New York's Bottom Line is another highlight, with Barbieri ricocheting and exploding off a six-man rhythm section, while the lilting "Nunca Mas" is further lightened by Dino Saluzzi's bandoneon. Barbieri's balladry is displayed with big bands on the opening "Cuando" and "Speak Low," and he forms a forceful partnership with Carlos Santana on "Latin Lady." --Adam Rains
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A great collection of "early to middle Cat" tunes
Lois Roe | Neptune, NJ United States | 05/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Rarely do I find myself enjoying compilations as much as the originals they come from, but "Gato Barbieri's Finest Hour" is an exception. In what seems to be an unusual move, Verve has released here a combination of Gato's tunes from more than one label--what was ABC/Impulse! and A&M. The ABC/Impulse! recordings sampled here are the famous groundbreaking Chapter Series albums in which Gato melded North American jazz with Latin American music, instruments and musicians--onsite in Argentina and Brazil as well as in NY. The project was conceived as a TV-like series, hence the track "To Be Continued" in which Gato narrates the close of Chapter 1 and previews the music to come in Chapter 2: "Al final de este capítulo, dejé Buenos Aires, llegue a Rio..." ("At the end of this chapter, I left Buenos Aires and arrived in Rio...") One by one, the instruments enter the mix, the excitement and rhythmic complexity building, layer by layer, to Gato's own entrance-an unbridled screech that sends chills up the spine before abruptly descending two octaves into some of his lushest tones. It is hard to imagine a song that better captures the essence of Gato Barbieri's artistry, but it is augmented beautifully by the inclusion of Nunca Mas with the wonderful bandoneon player Dino Saluzzi and by the big band tracks from his highly acclaimed album with the renowned Chico O'Farrill, who passed away in June 2001.What makes this album a good representation of Gato is that it also includes some of his later A&M tunes, such as his signature arrangement of Carlos Santana & Tom Coster's Europa, and his duet with Santana, Latin Lady. These are the tunes that are widely regarded as having set the stage for "smooth jazz," although the complexity of Gato's articulation is worlds away from much of the vapid instrumental music that now dominates that genre. It is hard to imagine making a single album that contains all the styles Gato Barbieri has played, but this one does a great job of pulling together a fair bit of that diversity. Notably absent from this collection are Gato's beautiful Flying Dutchman albums and his more recent albums, but these have been compiled elsewhere and are also widely available.For smooth jazz fans, this CD will probably have a few too many screechy and high-energy tunes; for "jazz purists" the A&M tunes may be undesirable. But for anyone who loves Gato in all his artistic breadth--or for anyone who has never heard him before, this will be a great introduction to a phenomenal artist."
Gato's Most Commercial Tunes
Kurt Harding | Boerne TX | 04/17/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"It's my fault, I ordered this CD without looking at the song list, so I shouldn't complain about it. On the other hand, I want to let prospective Gato fans what to expect from this as well as warn those who just like some of his music but don't know the names of any songs.
Gato Barbieri's Finest Hour is definitely not for those whose taste for his music was honed on the raw, frenetic, and urgent Latin jazz of his early years. Stevie Wonder's Ngucilela is the only tune which fits that style and it was done on Ruby, Ruby just before Barbieri's full-blown flirtation with the commercial sound known as "smooth jazz".
But Finest Hour just may be for those who developed an ear for him during his very commercial ventures of the late seventies-early eighties as epitomized by his album Tropico. Barbieri had shown earlier signs of trending that way with such tunes as Cuando Vuelvo a Tu Lado and Europa (Earth's Cry, Heaven's Smile), which is arguably his best known and most widely liked tune.
I don't dislike this album despite the inclusion of the lame To Be Continued and Marissea, the two stars just say that the songs assembled here hardly constitute Barbieri's finest hour. I can get into it when I am in a mellow mood and want to hear something that is uncomplicated, but perhaps it should have been entitled Barbieri At His Commercial Best."
Voilá, honorable master!
Hiram Gomez Pardo | Valencia, Venezuela | 08/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Leandro Gato Barbieri (1934) is a true living legend. This music imported from Argentine, has assumed of USA, his second country. He has impressed to his sax a particular sound that immediately identifies him. He was written golden pages in the jazz along several generations of listeners. From those times of "The last tango in Paris" 8his genial turning point) many memories have elapsed. His unique style in which has blended Latin American music and jazz make of him an obligated reference in many stages.
This is a fascinating compilation of some of his countless works. "Cuando vuelva a tu lado" is a moving and romantic piece of the Latin American repertoire. "Nunca más" is a magisterial blending, a musical crossroad between the jazz and the Tango with sensual results, but Europa is without discussion, the jewel of the crown, a mesmerizing version that rivals with the well known of Santana in which flair concerns. The other emblematic piece is the sensual and extraordinary piece Latin lady, accompanied by Carlos Santana, (with "Chepito"Areas in timbales), and Eddie Watkins (bass) you just may guess how must sound, this enraptured piece. Bahia is another winning work ; La podrida is a moving piece that recalls us the sound of the great bands with that "feline touch". I had the huge lucky to meet him in NYC in the well known temple of the jazz: "Blue Note" in 1995.
Since I watched this album in Caracas in 2000, I did not think it twice, and I got it. And its value has enhanced with the times. A legendary album of a legendary soloist.
One more thing: let me remind you Barbieri was a special guest in the famous documental "