All the CTI releases
1705634086860.pngRay Barretto: La Cuna

CTI Records CTI 9002
Released 1981

A1: La Cuna / 5:08
A2: Doloroso / 5:55
A3: Mambotango / 5:57
B1: The Old Castle / 8:40
B2: Pastime Paradise / 8:31
Cocinando / 5:09 (Previously unreleased bonus track from Legacy release ZK 66126)

Arranged By – Carlos Franzetti (tracks: A3), Jeremy Wall
Bass – Francisco Centeno
Congas – Ray Barretto
Design – Jonathan Andrews
Drums – Mark Craney, Steve Gadd
Engineer [Recording] – Rudy Van Gelder
Guitar – John Tropea
Mastered By – Rudy Van Gelder
Mixed By – Neil Dorfsman
⭐ Percussion – Charlie Palmieri, Ray Barretto
Photography By – Creed Taylor, Jr.
Piano – Carlos Franzetti, Charlie Palmieri
Producer – Creed Taylor
Programmed By [Synthesizer] – Suzanne Ciani
Synthesizer – Jeremy Wall
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Flute – Joe Farrell
Timbales – Tito Puente
Vocals – Willy Torres*

Recorded August, 1979 at Van Gelder Studios; mixed at The Power Station NYC.

CTI 9002 introduced a new label design for US releases.

This is a hidden gem in the CTI Records catalog. Ray Barretto insisted he did not like the idea of "Latin jazz" yet, here you go, one of the finest recordings in his catalog (at least in my humble opinion).

This album is an all-star assemblage of some of the greatest Latin music talents including Tito Puente and Charlie Palmieri, and the woodwind work of CTI mainstay Joe Farrell. Surprisingly, the songs are not composed by Latino musicians. In fact, this album turns a CTI trick in that it features an inventive jazz version of a movement from Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition: "The Old Castle." It runs circles around the Deodato take of "Also Sprach Zarathustra," with something happening at every turn. Joe Farrell's work on this track is almost reminiscent of Gato Barbieri. It's the highlight of the album and, arguably, one of CTI's finest tracks ever recorded.

Another surprise is a vocal version of an album track from Stevie Wonder's sprawling Songs in the Key of Life: "Pastime Paradise." Honestly, this upbeat version beats Stevie's version, and vocalist Willy Torres even sounds a bit like him. "Doloroso" is an unexpected treat also, with a dreamy arrangement that augments its somewhat melancholy melody. The title track is a Latin cooker. Not a weak track on this album.

Reissues from 1995 onward include a bonus track, "Cocinado," which make the digital version worth seeking out.

I would rank this among my top ten favorite CTI albums, and one of many highlights Creed Taylor produced during his decades-long career.
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