copyright © 2003 Jorge L. Lardone
In the middle of the information vortex of the massive (in)communication means of this sur/realistic country [Argentina], in its majority property of multinational companies, accomplices of the barbarism imposed by neoliberal capitalism since 1989, the news of the 71st birthday (November 28th) of Gato Barbieri went absolutely unnoticed.
This was a tremendous injustice for an artist who could serve as an example to thousands of young people by his exceptional artistic trajectory over the last 50 years. He actively participated at the end of '50s and the beginning of the '60s in the jazz scene of our country [Argentina], distinguishing himself although without erasing the prejudice that touched jazz at that time (a serious sin affecting several generations of Argentine jazz artists, which he was actually fortunate to overcome).
His trip to Europe and soon after to the USA allowed him to discover the horizon without the limits of "free" [jazz] and it allowed him to continue maturing his own artistic project, which was lamentably interrupted by the actions of the Peronist organization Triple A first, and then later by the military genocides (1974-'76).
Gato is a pioneer who left Argentina to lay the foundations, for more than 30 years, of the creative music that today touches this country and a good part of Latin America. The reinterpretations that he did of Argentine and Latin American folkloric music and the tango sound as fresh today as they did then, as one can verify by listening to his extraordinary albums from the late '60s and early 1970s: The Third World, Fenix, Bolivia, Under Fire, The Pampero, Yesterdays, El Gato, Chapter 1: Latin America, Chapter 2: Hasta Siempre, Chapter 3: Viva Emiliano Zapata, and Chapter 4: Alive in New York.
It is not risky to say that, along with Astor Piazzolla and Dino Saluzzi, Gato Barbieri represents the best that this country has contributed to the world in the field of creative music.
Festival Internacional Fotojazzeando
San Rafael / Argentina
Translation by Roberto G. Lebron, Jr., Esq.
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