GATO BARBIERI — Fenix

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GATO BARBIERI - Fenix cover
3.88 | 8 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1971

Filed under Latin Jazz
By GATO BARBIERI

Tracklist

A1 Tupac Amaru 4:13
A2 Carnavalito 9:10
A3 Falsa bahiana 5:48
B1 El día que me quieras 6:10
B2 El arriero 7:24
B3 Bahía 6:23

Total Time: 39:11

Line-up/Musicians

Gato Barbieri - tenor sax
Lonnie Liston Smith - piano, electric piano
Joe Beck - guitar, electric, guitar
Ron Carter - bass, electric bass
Lenny White - drums
Naná Vasconcelos - conga, berimbau
Gene Golden - bongos, conga

About this release

Flying Dutchman FD-10144 (US)

Recorded at Atlantic Recording Studios, New York, April 27 & 28, 1971

Thanks to snobb, Abraxas, js for the updates

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GATO BARBIERI FENIX reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Abraxas
Who would have thought that the powerful, soul-blowing, but rather underground music of Pharoah Sanders and the like would reach Argentina, the farthest south country on America (it's also a continent, you know)?

By the late 60s and early 70s this "hippie jazz" movement I like to call was having a high point, Alice Coltrane, Liston Smith, Michael White, etc, were releasing peace-minded music with jazz tinges, very religiously inspired. But what was going on in Argentina? Historically, we were still in a big crisis, full of terror and repression, soon to be replaced by the military dictatorship (by 1974). Artists of all kind usually traveled to Europe, although rock and folk bands were having their heyday back then, with a wild youth.

It's the case of Gato Barbieri, tenor saxophonist, who brings the peace and relentless energy of Pharoah to Latin America. Fenix, from 1971, fuses vast latin percussion (unlike Sanders' african inclination) with big and powerful sax melodies that veer towards free jazz. But alike his inspiration, Sanders, he doesn't often get into atonal or chaotic moments. But I'm not trying to make Barbieri sound as a Sanders-clone, he does imitate that fat, fuelled, resounding sax of the latter, but I think Gato grooves quite more and has that latin feel, that makes him sound more pleasant for the unaccustomed ear.

If you're interested in either latin jazz or "hippie jazz", Fenix is a must-have. Just in case you didn't notice, Lonnie Liston Smith is playing keys, Ron Carter on bass, Vasconcelos on percussion, there's even Lenny White on drums! Yep, this is a stellar session with excellent tenor sax on the front and lots of percussion backing up.

Members reviews

Sean Trane
Generally reputed as one of Gato’s best album (along wit The Third World), Fenix is a typical early-70’s product, besides Gato and Vasconcelos, we find the great Lonnie Liston-Smith, Lenny White, Joe Beck and the inevitable Ron Carter. While Fenix is resolutely a Latin-America-axed album (all of the tracks are from the southern hemisphere), sonically-speaking, we’re in a typical early-70’s mostly-instrumental JR/F album that has a few ethnic twitches on some tracks, while others like Falsa Bahiana have a distinct bossa-nova nature. An interesting artwork, evoking the Tupac-Inca myth graces the front cover

Opening the album is the outstanding Tupac Amaru upbeat instrumental, where Beck’s glissando guitar and SLS’ Rhodes tickling are for the conga pairs, allowing Gato to glide effortlessly over the pack. The standard Carnavalito has a fairly Santana-esque feel, but Barbieri’s almost constant sax playing is walking away slightly from its model. The excellent Al Arriero features some vocals fairly low in the mix, and Gato’s sax reaches some screechy moment in the more dramatic moments. Vasconcelos’ birimbau brings a jungle feel (but more African than Amazonian, IMHO) on two or three tracks throughout the album, including the intro of the closing Bahia standard, a fitting exit to the album. However I find that Gato’s up-front sax can be saturating the album at places. After the bossa-esque Falsa and the slow syrupy (almost soppy) El Dia Que Me Quieras (where pianist SLS sounds a bit McCoy-esque) are the low-points of an otherwise good album.

While fairly interesting at times, Fenix is nowhere near the best JR/F albums of the era, partly because it lacks the energy and urgency of many of its contemporary competing albums. Still definitely worth investigating if you’re in the Latin-Fusion genre, though.

Ratings only

  • Fant0mas
  • richby
  • Drummer
  • toitoi2
  • darkprinceofjazz
  • zorn1

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