Personnel: Gato Barbieri (tenor saxophone); Eddy Martinez (keyboards); Don Grolnick (keyboards, synthesizer); Eric Gale, David Spinozza, Joe Beck (guitar); Gary King (bass); Lenny White (drums); Ralph McDonald, Cachete Maldonado, Mtume (percussion).
Additional personnel: Marvin Stamm, Bernie Glow, Randy Brecker, Irvin Markowitz (trumpet); Wayne Andre, David Taylor, Paul Faulise (trombone); Alfred Brown, David Nadien, Charles McCracken, Theodore Israel, Matthew Raimondi, Harry Cykman, Harry Glickman, Alan Shulman, Max Ellen, Harold Kohon, Max Pollikoff, Harry Lookofsky, Paul Gershman (strings).
Recorded at A&R Studios, New York.
Believe it or not, this Argentinian-born saxophonist spent his early years playing in the jazz avant-garde with the likes of Don Cherry. But for all his free-form experiments, "the Cat" hit his stride with this pristine piece of seminal pop-jazz. His emotional, warm-blooded playing, gritty-sweet tone, and Latin-laced grooves slide down smooth and easy. Covers of Santana's "Europa (Earth's Cry Heaven's Smile)" and Marvin Gaye's "I Want You" remain faithful to the originals' vibe, yet take on a seductive Spanish accent thanks to Barbieri's expressive tenor and a battery of Latin percussion. Elsewhere, hip-swiveling rhythms and tuneful arrangements of cuts like "Fiesta," "Behind the Rain," and "Los Desperados" simply simmer. Drummer Lenny White kicks down a rock-solid beat, percussionists Ralph MacDonald and Mtume add the spice that's funky and nice, and producer Herb Alpert (of Tijuana Brass, and the "A" in A&M Records) polishes the proceedings to a glossy sheen with colorful orchestrations and silky strings.
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