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Sunday, February 19, 2006 - Entertainment - Grammy-Winning Percussionist Dies At 76 - Entertainment - Grammy-Winning Percussionist Dies At 76Grammy-Winning Percussionist Dies At 76
Baretto Best-Known For Introducing Congas Into Jazz

POSTED: 11:32 am EST February 17, 2006
UPDATED: 11:36 am EST February 17, 2006
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HACKENSACK, N.J. -- A musician best known for bringing the conga drum into the world of jazz has died.

Grammy-winning percussionist Ray Barretto became popular in the 1950s while playing with Tito Puente, and later recorded with such greats as Cannonball Adderley and Dizzy Gillespie. He was inducted into the International Latin Hall of Fame after his collaboration with Puerto Rican vocalist Celia Cruz, "Ritmo en Corazon," won a Grammy for the best Tropical Latin performance of 1989.

Last month, Barretto took the nation's highest jazz honor when he was named one of the Jazz Masters of 2006 by the National Endowment for the Arts.

His family in New Jersey said Barretto had undergone heart bypass surgery and suffered from pneumonia. He was 76.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Jazz at Lincoln Center Celebrates Philadelphia: City of Brotherly Jazz :: : The Number One Jazz News Resource On The Net :: Jazz News Da

Jazz at Lincoln Center Celebrates Philadelphia: City of Brotherly Jazz :: : The Number One Jazz News Resource On The Net :: Jazz News Daily Jazz at Lincoln Center Celebrates Philadelphia: City of Brotherly Jazz
Posted by: eJazzNews Readeron Friday, February 10, 2006 - 02:12 PM
Jazz News Celebrating Philadelphia:
City of Brotherly Jazz

· Featuring: Jimmy Heath, Albert “Tootie” Heath, Joey DeFrancesco,
Pat Martino, Duane Eubanks, Buster Williams and other special guest artists

· March 10 & 11, 2006 – Rose Theater

New York, NY (February 10, 2006) The City of Philadelphia is rich in jazz history and home to many of the jazz greats. Jazz at Lincoln Center celebrates Philly’s contributions to the art form on March 10 & 11, 2006 at 8:00pm in Rose Theater with Philadelphia: City of Brotherly Jazz. Tickets at $30, $50, $75, $100 and $130, and are available at the Jazz at Lincoln Center Box Office on Broadway at 60th St., by calling CenterCharge at (212) 721-6500 or via

Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 2005-06 season is entitled Jazz From Coast to Coast, where the major jazz cities are spotlighted. This great celebration of Philadelphia includes its hometown heroes: Jimmy Heath (saxophone), Albert “Tootie” Heath (drums), Joey DeFrancesco (Hammond B-3 organ), Pat Martino (guitar), Duane Eubanks (trumpet), Buster Williams (bass), and other special guests. The show will focus on major jazz artists and organists who represent the Philadelphia jazz sound including Lee Morgan, Bobby Durham, Mickey Roker, Benny Golson and the late, great Jimmy Smith. Come hear the classic jazz music of the Blue Note Records years of the 1950s and 1960s.

Philadelphia was one of the most important centers for jazz in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. The city was home to more jazz musicians than perhaps any city, except New York. Philadelphian John Coltrane played with both Jimmy Heath’s and Jimmy Smiths’ bands, and later hired local talents Jimmy Garrison and McCoy Tyner for his own classic quartet. East Coast jazz musicians in the mid-1950s created a roots-oriented jazz – called hard bop – that incorporated significant elements from blues and black gospel music. Philadelphia was a main center for hard bop, home to crucial performers including (in addition to the above mentioned) Clifford Brown, John Coltrane, Philly Joe Jones, Hank Mobley, Jimmy Heath, and McCoy Tyner.

Starting in Philadelphia, the Heath Brothers have been contributing mightily to the language of jazz since the 1940s. Jimmy Heath, contemplating on the family legacy, remarked “We’ve got more than 150 years of experience and more than 900 recordings. We’ve all played with the jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, J.J. Johnson, Miles and the Modern Jazz Quartet; that seems to make us the elders of the surviving families of jazz.”

- - - - - -

Jimmy Heath bio
Long recognized as a brilliant instrumentalist and a magnificent composer and arranger, Jimmy Heath is middle brother of the legendary Heath Brothers (the late Percy Heath/bass and Tootie Heath/drums). Saxophonist Jimmy is the father of musician Mtume. One of Mr. Heath’s earliest bands (1947-1948) in Philadelphia included John Coltrane, Benny Golson and Ray Bryant. Charlie Parker and Max Roach sat in too. During his career, Jimmy has performed on more than 100 record albums including seven with The Heath Brothers and twelve as a leader. For eleven years, he was a Professor of Music at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. He continues an extensive performance schedule and conducts workshops and clinics throughout the United States, Europe and Canada. As Dizzy Gillespie once proclaimed, “All I can say is, if you know Jimmy Heath, you know Bop.” And fellow Philadelphian John Coltrane said, “Besides being a wonderful saxophonist, he (Jimmy) understood a lot about musical construction. We were very much alike in our feeling, phrasing and a whole lot of other ways. Our musical appetites were the same.”

Albert “Tootie” Heath bio
Born 1935, Philadelphia, Albert “Tootie” Heath today resides in Southern California. He is the youngest of the three musical Heath brothers. The first of Tootie’s more than 600 recordings was John Coltrane’s first as a leader (Coltrane on Prestige). Tootie was the last drummer for the Modern Jazz Quartet, and has been a member of bands led by Kenny Drew, Art Farmer/Benny Golson, Dexter Gordon, Herbie Hancock, Tommy Flanagan Trio, J.J. Johnson, Yusef Lateef, Bobbie Timmons, Ben Webster and Lester Young. He has been a faculty member at the Stanford University Jazz Workshop since 1986, and is an artist-in-residence at many universities. He is also the recipient in 2003 of Yale University’s Duke Ellington Fellowship Medal. He was featured in the 2005 documentary film “Between a Smile and a Tear” by Niels Lan Doky, about the fabled Montmartre jazz club in Copenhagen, where Tootie was the house drummer during the 1960s. Tootie currently performs worldwide with the Heath Brothers band, and is the leader of The Whole Drum Truth, an all-percussion ensemble of legendary jazz drummers.

Joey DeFrancesco bio
By the time Joey DeFrancesco was 17, he rocked the jazz world with his debut, All of Me, on Columbia. Suddenly the Hammond B-3, which had been relegated to the sidelines for years, enjoyed a revitalization of popularity. Even though he never stopped playing and touring, the late master Jimmy Smith also got swept up in the resurgence of interest. Today, DeFrancesco says there was always love and respect between the two. “We’d play together, do stuff like jam on one organ. It was a dream to play with him.” DeFrancesco felt that Smith’s last few albums didn’t represent what the B-3 bomber could do. So, he put together a strong band, developed a set list and brought Smith into the studio to record Legacy. DeFrancesco says, “There was a lot of love involved. After the first night, Jimmy came up to me and gave me a big hug. That’s what makes this album so special.” Smith joked, “There’s me and then there’s Joey. I’m the robber and he’s the sheriff.” As album liner note writer Pete Fallico points out: “With this recording Joey has not only kept the fire of jazz organ burning, but also solidified the legacy of this musical art form, embracing the truth (Jimmy Smith) and personally embellishing upon it with his own distinct voice, character and musical genius.” Both Mr. DeFrancesco and the late, great Mr. Smith hail from Philadelphia.

Pat Martino bio
Born Pat Azzara in Philadelphia in 1944, he was first exposed to jazz through his father, who sang in local clubs and played guitar. He took Pat to all the city’s hot-spots to hear and meet Wes Montgomery and other musical giants. He began playing guitar when he was twelve years old. During his visits to his music teacher, young guitarist Martino often ran into another gifted student, John Coltrane, who would treat the youngster to hot chocolate as they talked about music. Mr. Martino became actively involved with the early rock scene in Philadelphia, alongside Bobby Rydell, Chubby Checker and Bobby Darin. His first road gig was with jazz organist Charles Earland, a high school friend. Mr. Martino was signed as a leader to Prestige Records when he was 20 years old. In 1976, he had surgery for symptoms of an aneurysm. After his surgery, he miraculously resumed his career in 1987, having to relearn just about everything. Today, Mr. Martino lives in Philadelphia and is on the adjunct faculty at the University of the Arts.

Duane Eubanks bio
Born into a gifted musical family, Duane Eubanks is brother to Robin (trombone) and Kevin (guitar). His uncle is legendary pianist Ray Bryant. Along with Duane’s mother, Vera, who plays piano, they all contributed to his musical education. The Philadelphia native played trumpet for the first time at age 11, but didn’t consider a career in music until his college years. He joined the University of Maryland’s jazz band, which offered him opportunities to play with jazz luminaries including Stanley Turrentine, Shirley Scott, Charles Fambrough, and Clark Terry. Mr. Eubanks teaches at Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, tours with Dave Holland’s Grammy winning big band, as well as Mulgrew Miller’s band, Wingspan. Mr. Eubanks is a busy sideman and bandleader.

Buster Williams bio
Charles Anthony Williams, Jr. (nickmane: Buster) was born in Camden, New Jersey on April 17, 1942. His mother, Gladys, worked as a seamstress and his father, Charles Anthony Williams, Sr. (nickname: Cholly), a bassist, worked various day jobs to support his five children, and at night he played gigs to support his musical spirit. Buster is a prodigious artist whose playing knows no limits. In 1959, he began playing with Jimmy Heath. He has played, recorded and collaborated with jazz giants such as Art Blakey, Betty Carter, Carmen McRae, Chet Baker, Chick Corea, Dexter Gordon, Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Gene Ammons, Sonny Stitt, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Sarah Vaughan, Hank Jones, Lee Morgan, Sonny Rollins, Freddie Hubbard, and many, many more. He’s recorded soundtracks for movies and has been featured on many television shows. He is the consummate bassist.

Saturday, February 04, 2006 Free Jazz: Separate But Unequal Free Jazz: Separate But UnequalFree Jazz: Separate But Unequal
January 31, 2006
Michael J. West

Robert Gable has linked to a list of the Top Ten Free Jazz albums, as selected by Sonic Youth stalwart Thurston Moore. Technically it ends up as a Top 14, being that there's a five-way tie for Number 10, but anyway...what's most striking about this list, to me, is that while I know (or know of) several of the artists on this list, I'm not familiar with a single one of the albums on it.

Now if you'll forgive me fellating myself for a minute here, I'm something of a jazz connoisseur; I flatter myself as thoroughly grounded with the major points on the timeline, from 1917 and the ODJB on up--and pretty damn familiar with the minor points. But even if I'm not familiar with these records, I know Thurston Moore's work and intellect well enough to know that if he considers them the greatest, then they are massively innovative and epochal works.

So why don't I know these specific albums?

I certainly should have done better research, but I'd also like to pass the buck a bit on this: I think that a large part of the reason I don't know some of the more influential pieces from the avant-garde is because free jazz is treated as though it were a fully separate continuum from the rest of the jazz world. Even the most balanced of critics, like Gary Giddins, treat them this way, with John Coltrane as the single tenuous strand that connects these two islands.

And this, I feel, is wrong.

Partly, of course, I feel this because I think that the jazz universe is incorrect to rank John Coltrane above Ornette Coleman in the jazz pantheon. (Of course, I also think it's incorrect to rank Miles Davis and Duke Ellington above Coleman, and I think I've given pretty solid proof that he ranks below only Armstrong and Parker...but I digress.) Messianic and profound and spiritual a figure as Trane is, he was ultimately consecrating the trail that Ornette had already blazed. But more importantly, it's ridiculous to treat them as two loosely stitched bodies of music. They are, in fact, different regions of the same geography, and they're intermeshed awfully closely.

Anybody who's anybody in jazz had to pay their dues: come up through the ranks of the existing bands and styles. We can't forget that Trane was in Miles's band, can we? For that matter, he also played in Monk's band, and before that was a member of Dizzy Gillespie's big band. Eric Dolphy grew up on West Coast swing and cool jazz with his high-school classmate, Charles Mingus; Archie Shepp's first gig was latin jazz; Lester Bowie aspired to be Louis Armstrong; even Sunny Murray, the great avant-garde drummer, was a onetime employee of Willie "The Lion" Smith, a founding father of stride piano in the 1910s and '20s. One could conclude, and pretty easily I might add, that being a free-jazz player requires a pretty thorough grounding in jazz tradition.

And what about the people who vacillated in between the two "separate" genres pretty easily? Jackie McLean, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Freddie Hubbard, Sun Ra? Then there are those like Andrew Hill and Bobby Hutcherson, who made a career out of playing both at once: bop at its core, but lanching off in radical new directions.

So how is it that free jazz survives today, but is walled off by the jazz world? Are we all just listening to that bloated hairball asshole, Stanley Crouch? He insists that free jazz is white America's way of unfairly inserting themselves into a genre that has always been carried by blacks...but if you look at the free-jazz names I've mentioned in bold here, you might notice that every single one is African American. Or are we just eager to ignore music that demands that we listen hard in order to understand it? I don't know, but I know that I've probably been guiltier of shutting it out than I'd like to believe. I gotta work on that. (Of course, I can still rest on my unending and omnifrustrating Ornette Coleman auditory project for a while....)

Funny, isn't it? Free jazz was the "new thing" when the Civil Rights era was flourishing, and yet it's the music that the jazz establishment subjects to the musical equivalent of Jim Crow. Musician Ray Barretto recovering at N.J. hospital Musician Ray Barretto recovering at N.J. hospitalusician Ray Barretto recovering at N.J. hospital
Associated Press Writer

February 4, 2006, 3:25 PM EST

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- A doctor treating Grammy-winning Latin jazz percussionist Ray Barretto has told the man's family that he should respond to medical care after undergoing two heart operations, a family spokesman said Saturday.

"He is taking very aggressive treatments and we have to wait and see how he responds," said Fidel Estrada, a family friend. "He is not defeated, he has an attitude of being alive and continuing with his music."

A spokeswoman at Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, N.J., did not immediately return calls Saturday on the condition of the 76-year-old Barretto. He underwent bypass surgery at the hospital two weeks ago and was later operated on a second time because an artery burst.

The Brooklyn-born Barretto grew up listening to the music of Puerto Rico and to the jazz of Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Benny Goodman.

After playing in Tito Puente's band in the late '50s, he became much in demand on the New York music scene, recording with Cannonball Adderley, Freddie Hubbard, Cal Tjader and Dizzy Gillespie for leading jazz labels.

Barretto, who is known for integrating the conga drum into jazz, won a Grammy award for best Tropical Latin performance in 1989 for the song "Ritmo en el Corazon" with Celia Cruz. His 1979 album "Ricanstruction" is considered one of the classic salsa recordings.

Barretto was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame in 1999. In January, he was honored as one of the National Endowment for the Arts' Jazz Masters of 2006, the nation's highest jazz honor.