Drummer and bandleader: born New York 29 April 1929; married 1978 Brandy Rivera (three sons, one daughter); died Hackensack, New Jersey 17 February 2006.
Ray Barretto, the towering Puerto Rican percussionist who straddled the occasionally conflicting worlds of salsa and Latin jazz during a career that spanned more than half a century, died Friday. He was 76.
Barretto, who had asthma, was hospitalized last month in New Jersey, where it was discovered he had suffered a heart attack. He was also treated for pneumonia and later underwent quadruple bypass surgery. His condition suddenly worsened because of unspecified complications, according to longtime friend and family spokesman George Rivera, who declined to state a cause of death. "He fought to the bitter end," Rivera said. "There was never any doubt in his mind that he was going to play again. If he could survive, he was going to play, because that was his mission in life." (www.LAtimes.com).
ESSENTIAL RECORDING: Acid (Fania, 1968)
Tracklist: El Nuevo Barretto; Mercy, Mercy Baby; Acid; A Deeper Shade of Soul; The Soul Drummers; Sola Te Dejare; Teacher of Love; Espiritu Libre.
Produced by Jerry Masucci & Harvey Averne