Record of the day: Gato Barbieri, "Alive in New York"

Record of the day: Gato Barbieri, “Alive in New York”

Gato Barbieri
Chapter Four: Alive in New York (Cd Impulse 42249)

After years of unjustified oblivion in the Impulse archives, this unmissable live album recorded in 1975 at the Bottom Line in New York is finally available to all fans. In these years the Argentine tenor saxophonist Gato Barbieri was at the peak of his artistic form; his creativity spread in every solo, distributing incandescent phrases where the great jazz tradition of John Coltrane and the Free world combined in an unmistakable way with South American popular music, reaching a synthesis of exciting energy capable of inflaming the audiences.

Passionate about cinema, Barbieri had begun to create a series of albums for Impulse divided into chapters like scenes from a film; These records are available on CD and are recommended without reservation if you want to experience music rich in expressiveness and completely removed from the world of business. This Live chapter had mysteriously disappeared from the catalogs despite being one of the best albums Gato had ever made, but fortunately Universal is re-proposing it in a remastered version with a warm and detailed sound that will take you directly into the Bottom Line, the famous jazz club from the intimate atmosphere which on this occasion saw a tornado of energy arriving within it which came not only from Gato's sax but from a high voltage band which included among others Howard Johnson on baritone sax,
Ron Carter on double bass, Ray Armando on percussion and the Brazilian drummer Portinho, all loaded like a spring by the leader who offers fascinating pages of his repertoire such as the long suite “La China Leoncia” and “Baihia”, characterized by an extraordinary warmth in the singing of Barbieri's saxophone.

There are two magnificent numbers from the previous album “Viva Emiliano Zapata” (absolutely worth listening to): “Milonga Triste”, with a flow full of pathos, and the rhythmic “Lluvia Azul” which in the space of a few minutes turns into a wild jam sessions where each musician gives his best, reaching moments of authentic rhythmic trance; they were years of sleepless nights and excesses of all kinds, and all this seemed to put even more fuel in Gato's tireless musical engine, in fact the album still sparks today.

Carlo Boccadoro, composer and conductor, was born in Macerata in 1963. He lives and works in Milan. He collaborates with soloists and orchestras in different parts of the world. He is the author of numerous books on musical topics.

This text is taken from “Lunario della musica: A record for every day of the year” published by Einaudi, courtesy of the author and the publisher.