59. Gato Barbieri / Chapter One: Latin America (1973)
Early on, Barbieri did a series of albums focusing on Latin American music. Chapter One is the first and perhaps the most brilliantly conceived of the bunch, and it is also an album that brought him considerable acclaim outside of Argentina. "Encuentros" and "India" assemble a diverse assortment of instruments and musicians from South America. The proceedings are played on bombas, harps and the charango (yes! a charango). Barbieri's tenor presides over all, weaving in strands of melody and little riffs. At times, the group sounds as if they are imitating the sounds of the jungle, or myriad voices in a crowd. Listening to these pieces together is exhilirating time after time. The second side is comprised of a suite, and several short works. The former is a vast and sweeping work that I don't see having a successor in the Barbieri discography. It's noisy but sometimes gentle, roaring but not overwhelming, with great musicality. I see Chapter One as being of those records that shouldn't be played unless I unplug the phone and don't plan to leave the room until it's over. Aaaaah, that.