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Saturday, February 04, 2006 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.

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