Gato Barbieri

Gato Barbieri is the second Argentine musician to make a significant impact upon modern jazz -- the first being Lalo Schifrin, in whose band Barbieri played as a teenager. His story has been that of an elongated zigzag odyssey between his homeland and North America. He started out playing to traditional Latin rhythms in his early years, turning his back on his heritage to explore the jazz avant-garde in the '60s, reverting to South American influences in the early '70s, playing pop and fusion in the late '70s, only to go back and forth again in the '80s. North American audiences first heard Barbieri when he was a wild bull, sporting a coarse, wailing John Coltrane/Pharoah Sanders-influenced tone. Yet by the mid-'70s, his approach and tone began to mellow somewhat in accordance with ballads like "What a Diff'rence a Day Makes" (which he always knew as the vintage bolero "Cuando Vuelva a Tu Lado") and Carlos Santana's "Europa." Still, regardless of the idiom in which he works, the warm-blooded Barbieri has always been one of the most overtly emotional tenor sax soloists on record, occasionally driving the voltage ever higher with impulsive vocal cheerleading.