Two of Ray Barretto's earliest albums, both recorded for the Riverside label at the star
t of his career! Latino has an approach to Latin jazz that's certainly informed by the charanga sound of the New York scene in the early 60s – but one that's also opened up a bit more to new ideas – bits of bossa nova, heavy percussion, and some odd instrumental twists that really make the album sparkle! There's some haunting violin work on one track, a bit of odd organ on another, and a very playful mix of flute, piano, and percussion throughout. The great Jose Combo Silva plays tenor on the date – and other players include Jose Canoura on flute, Alfredito Valdez on piano, and El Negro Vivar on trumpet. Ray's on congas, bongos, and timbales – and titles include "Sugar's Delight", "Carnaval", "Descarga La Moderna", "El Negro Y Ray", and "Cocinando Suave". Pachanga With Barretto is a very offbeat little set from Ray – a record that takes the standard pachanga groove of the time, and nicely turns it on its ear with a host of jazzy touches! Hector Rivera wrote all the tracks, and also did most of the arrangements – and the record's got a really playful feel that's far more than just straight Latin for the crowds at the club. Flute and violin are often used in slightly unusual ways – and they're mixed with harder lines on tenor from Frank Mercado and trumpet from El Negro Vivar. Other players include Ray Mantilla on timbales, Jose Canoura on flute, and Willie Rodriguez on percussion – and titles include "Oye Heck", "Pachanga Suavecito", "Pachanga Para Bailar", "Barretto En La Tumbadora", "Pachanga Oriental", and "Ponte Dura".