Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Gato Barbieri: Nine Lives

Gato Barbieri

My Gato Barbieri Moment:… One cold, rainy, fall night two years ago, I went to S.O.B.s to catch a Philippe Saisse gig. Inside, a friend told me that Gato was in the house. Squinting in the nicotine haze, I soon spotted The Hat slowly tilted back, revealing double-x frame specs poised atop a Gary Cooperesque profile… smoke floating from his cigarette in element, wraith-like filigrees. Gato Barbieri was chill. I paid my respects, he smiled, thanked me and shook my hand. I walked away, anointed.

Where have all the jazz gods gone? You know, the old school bloods like Monk, Miles, Ornette-vital, inimitable icons of mad skills, deep music and crazy style (save for Rodney Kendrick, Branford and a few others, the new crew is pretty much three-dimensional). Gato Barbieri looms large over today’s musicscape because he straddles both the old and the new school with a sound so preternaturally visceral, so emotionally raw that it simply transcends rhythm and time.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published