NEA Arts Magazine

In Memoriam: Ray Barretto, 1929-2006

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Photo of Ray Barretto

Photo: Tom Pich.

Ray Barretto, the most widely recorded conguero in jazz, received the NEA Jazz Master award on January 13, 2006 in New York City. On February 17, 2006, Ray Barretto passed away.

Chairman Gioia issued the following statement upon news of his death: "Ray Barretto was a pioneer, a legend, and a leader and we are proud to have added 'NEA Jazz Master' to that list of superlatives. All of us at the NEA are deeply saddened at Ray's untimely death and offer our condolences and prayers to his family. Ray Barretto will always have our respect and admiration for all that he accomplished and all that he gave to jazz."