The album on which a fire-breathing revolutionary transformed himself into a smooth Latin love man, under the guidance of producer Herb Alpert and associate producer Michelle (Mrs. Gato) Barbieri. The rhythm tracks are tig... more »ht and funky in a facile '70s fuzak sort of way, and Jay Chattaway's CTI-inspired orchestrations sound dated and corny. The arrangements conspire to stifle the Third World scream in Barbieri's raw and impassioned tenor sax tone. Yet he still manages to mate the steamy temperament of the tango with upscale funk on covers of Santana's "Europa" and Marvin Gaye's "I Want You." --Rick Mitchell« less
The album on which a fire-breathing revolutionary transformed himself into a smooth Latin love man, under the guidance of producer Herb Alpert and associate producer Michelle (Mrs. Gato) Barbieri. The rhythm tracks are tight and funky in a facile '70s fuzak sort of way, and Jay Chattaway's CTI-inspired orchestrations sound dated and corny. The arrangements conspire to stifle the Third World scream in Barbieri's raw and impassioned tenor sax tone. Yet he still manages to mate the steamy temperament of the tango with upscale funk on covers of Santana's "Europa" and Marvin Gaye's "I Want You." --Rick Mitchell
Oliver Towne | Riverside, CA United States | 10/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"...And some can enjoy both. People, people. Music never has to be an either/or proposition. It's not the Angels vs. the Yankees for crying out loud. Believe me, I have plenty of Monk, Mingus, Coltrane--even Ornette--in my collection, but that doesn't stop me from digging this masterpiece by Gato Barbieri.I first heard "Caliente" in 1978, when I was 20 years old and more into rock than jazz. This was the album that taught me that string-sections are not necessarily anathema to 'cool' music--that is, when they are there for a specific colorative purpose, and not merely to add a calculated 'easy-listening' gloss. Not once, from the first time I listened to the LP to today when I own it on CD, have I ever questioned the essential artistic 'rightness' of the strings or anything else that appears on this beautifully arranged album.And what a wall of sound. There's Barbieri's trademark passionate wail, of course. But it rides on a thick brew of funky, percolating keyboards: clavinet, electric piano, acoustic piano, and synthesizer; rock, jazz and Brazilian-tinged acoustic and electric guitars (along with seventies-era effects pedals); popping, driving, brooding electric bass; Latin percussion; propulsive drumming; and, yes, brass, strings, the whole enchilada--all being played by the top studio musicians of the day with a chemistry and inspiration that makes me wonder what kind of Amazonian extract was being passed around. I can't think of any other record to compare it to, and I doubt there are any. I'm not sure if even Gato, his wife, and Herb Alpert knew what they'd pulled off, because, sadly, they weren't able to do it again. (I was greatly disappointed by the follow-up album.) In the end it's just one of those 'moment-in-time' things, both for the listener and the artist. I happened to be in the perfect receptive mood when I first heard "Caliente," and Gato & Co. were in a perfect creative space when they made it.I recommend this to open-minded individuals who enjoy music they can dive into and drift away on. It is alternately hot, cool, romantic, exuberant, dark, earthy, spicey, and playful. Put it on some late evening when you are by your lonesome and feeling moody."
anthous | Pittsburgh, PA USA | 06/11/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Go out right now and buy this CD. Gato can blow. Oh my, and the band...the band. Musicians this talented are rare. I first heard him on the radio, playing Europa. I think I badgered the DJ for a week trying to find out who was playing the hottest, most erotic saxophone I've ever heard. Haven't been getting served? Might I suggest Gato Barbieri's Caliente, a bunch of votive candles, and some cheap wine. Send the kids to grandma's and the dog outside. Secure all breakables. Oh yeah, make sure the CD player is on repeat. ;-)"
Masterful Grab For A Larger Audience
Kurt Harding | Boerne TX | 03/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There has certainly been a lot of discussion over the years between jazz purists and "smooth jazz" aficionados about the merits of Caliente, but it can't be denied that it is probably Gato Barbieri's most commercially successful album to date. Nearly 30 years after its original issue, it still ranks near the top in sales of any Barbieri album, and the cut Europa garners more airplay than any other Barbieri song. There is good and bad in this. The good is that many new listeners are introduced to the music of Barbieri who might not otherwise have heard him. The bad is that the album is so singular, that many people don't know he did anything else! I came to the music of Gato during his Flying Dutchman days and confess to not being a fan of most of what is labeled "smooth jazz". But neither do I think that music must be entirely free-form and discordant to be acknowledged as "real jazz". There is a middle ground, and with Caliente Barbieri has gained that ground. I like the entire CD and my only real complaint is that it could stand remastering since I am always obliged to raise the volume on my player whenever I want to hear it. If I had to choose, my favorites would be Fireflies, Europa, Don't Cry Rochelle, I Want You, and the Herb Alpert composition, Behind The Rain. Those who say that Barbieri's Latin fire has been squelched should listen again, it is not squelched, it is merely modulated. And his band? Look at the list, they are many of the who's who of jazz session men in the mid-seventies. And yes, many are CTI veterans. People in general want their favorite musicians to trod familiar paths and feel disappointed or betrayed when faced with a recording sharply different than what they are used to. But some fans are content to follow that musician through the highs and the lows and allow them to stray occasionally. By straying from their original path, they are growng for better or worse. Musicians who repeatedly try to mine the same musical vein end up in facing oblivion rather sooner than later. Barbieri never returned to where he once was, but neither did he end up mired in commercialism. He continues to follow his muse and despite the occasional disappointing album, I'm cool with that. Prodded by his wife and producer and fellow musician Herb Alpert, Barbieri made a masterful and highly successful grab for a larger audience with Caliente. Let's not begrudge him that, let's celebrate his success!"
Emile J. Roberts Jr. | NYC, USA | 08/23/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Some of the most intense listening for a saxophone lover. His performance on this album creates magical images of fire and smoke. All while making love on a water bed. No children please."
Sit Down, Gato Haters
Dylan Hall | Orlando, FL, USA | 03/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For all of those who insult Gato Barbieri's music and career...I am a college jazz saxophonist whos been listening to jazz since I was about 13, when I absorbed all the Coltrane, Rollins, Miles, Thelonius, etc. I could find. When I first heard Gato Barbieri's "Caliente" on an old dusty cassette tape at about 15, it completed revolutionized how I thought about the possibilities of the saxophone. Gato Barbieri is one of the most important saxophonists in jazz, up, I believe, with Rollins and Coltrane among tenors. This is not to say that Gato was as technically skilled and able as the others, but his raw and emotional sound is one of the most wrenching and recognizable sounds in jazz. "Caliente" is one of his finest albums. The songs are funky, and Gato roars. "Europa" became a huge radio hit, and brought Gato some pop appeal, which I believe has hurt his reputation with so-called jazz purists(or more appropriately, jazz prudes). I recommend Gato Barbieri to any person who likes to be told a musical story without words."