Ray Barretto & New World Spirit – Trancedance

Ray Barretto & New World Spirit
(Circular Moves – 2001)
by Mark Ruffin

This is the kind of album that Blue Note Records thought they were getting when they signed the legendary Conguiero a few years ago. As is the case when many musicians are lucky enough to go to a major label, Barretto expanded his group and his arrangements to accommodate the major budget he was given. His reward was to be dropped. And like many musicians who find themselves in that situation, Barretto returns to independent status and a normal small budget has resulted in a much better record than any of those the major released.

This nine song disc begins with some of the best recent recorded flute work of James Moody, on a Monty Alexander tuned called, “Renewal,” and ends with a sizzling version of the Peggy Lee hit “Fever,” where Barretto makes the congas sing the line ‘you give me fever.” In between, there’s a classy tribute to Tito Puente, a steamy “Round Midnight,”