Gato Barbieri @ B.B. King’s, 7/29/2010


Gato Barbieri is a mystical figure. With over 50-years in the music business, countless recording projects, an upcoming album (Encounter) due out later this year, as well as turning 76 on November 28, the smooth jazz saxophonist commands attention like no other. Playing to a sit-down crowd at B.B. King’s last Thursday, the man barely said 10 words for close to an hour, yet the audience hung onto his every note respectfully, consciously, and gladly.

Rocking his signature style of a black Stetson hat and dark shades, the Argentine jazz legend could have played one note over and over again during his near two-hour set and no one would’ve cared. He played the classic “Europa” for which he is best-known and loved for but for most of the night, Mr. Barbieri was the laid-back commander, allowing the percussionist, keyboardist, drummer and bassist to shine in at least three solos. But the essence of the musician who composed the score to the controversial film Last Tango in Paris was still there: avant-garde yet beautifully crafted.

It was a romantic set no doubt. Couples snuggling up, rocking to the mysticism of a legend, which made it a perfect date-night in the city.

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