Ray Barretto “Cocinando”
Ray Barretto had just recorded “Que Viva La Musica”. Alan Manger, my partner and also a recording engineer, had done a great job with the band recording. Alan was busy working on the movie “Our Latin Thing”, so I jumped in to finish the recording and do the mix.
“Cocinando”, was maybe the first of the “Que Viva La Musica” mixes. “Concinado” was a 10 minute: 07 second Latin Jazz piece.
The song came together very quickly. After a listen or two for balance and tone adjustment, we decided to try a mix. The song was mixed on the first pass in one continuous piece. Shocking! Even the addition of the reverb burst on the last Jaw Bone slap on the last note of the song was completely a spontaneous first pass decision.
The song was done. We finished “Cocinando” on the first take and Ray and I were both excited, me more than him. I said to Ray “it’s a hit!” Ray said He never has big hits. But I felt sure, and bet him it would be. I held out my hands, palms up, to be slapped “10”. The control room wasn’t tall but Ray did his little jump to come down and slap my hands. As he was coming down I thought to myself “How dumb is this?” I’m going to be slapped 10 by a guy whose nickname is “Hard hands”, “Manos Duros”. Ray was perhaps the hardest hitting conga player in music. He had done his jump, making the hit even harder. So he is coming down and I knew I couldn’t pull away, that just wouldn’t be cool or right.
I continued to momentarily stand there fearful of the oncoming slaps. Ray hit me so hard I blacked out for an instant. I awoke to find myself on my knees. Ray had driven me from standing up, to on my knees. My hands were still palms up. I was stunned.
Still on my knees, Ray put an arm under mine and helped me up. Ray said “I’m going to drive you home now”. (which he did)
Right after that, the next day, I played “Cocinando” for Alan. Leon Gast, the Director of “Our Latin Thing” also heard the song, and made “Cocinando” the opening title track of the movie.
Now, 47 years later, the song still sounds fresh. “Cocinando” is still used by speaker companies, to show off their speakers. It is still played as a track under radio and TV music shows.