Ray Barretto Tribute

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Giovanni performing at the Ray Barretto Tribute

Salsa Stars Come Out for Ray Barretto Tribute

What more fitting choice than Giovanni Hidalgo to occupy Ray Barretto's chair during the tribute to the recently departed pioneer of conga drumming in America?  Some of the finest percussionists were chosen for this musical journey covering Ray's long and productive career in salsa music. 

While, toward the end of his life, Ray's greatest love was jazz, it was salsa that brought both his best successes and his widest recognition, yet it was in both genres that he assembled the finest bands, and produced some of the finest recordings.  Among the percussionists joining Giovanni Hidalgo on stage were Orestes Vilato, Johnny "Dandy" Rodriguez, Jimmy Delgado, Ralphie Irizarry, and Carlito Soto.  The vocalists were Ray De La Paz, Tito Allen, and Adalberto Santiago.

The program opened with the Machito Orchestra featuring the amazing legendary conguero Eddie Montalvo, as well as bandleader Mario Grillo -- son of the late, great Machito -- on timbales, and Frank Valdes on bongos.

Other guests included keyboard players and arrangers Gil Lopez, Luis Cruz, and Oscar Hernandez.

Click here to see exclusive performance photos!

Click here to see online video of Giovanni's solo!