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Gato Barbieri (1932 - 2016)

Getty Images / Redferns / Photo by Frans Schellekens

Gato Barbieri (1932 - 2016)

Gato Barbieri, a Grammy-winning Latin jazz saxophonist, has died, according to Billboard. He was 83.

Laura Barbieri, his wife of nearly 20 years, told Billboard that her husband died of pneumonia Saturday in a New York hospital.

"Music was a mystery to Gato, and each time he played was a new experience for him, and he wanted it to be that way for his audience," she said. "He was honored for all the years he had a chance to bring his music all around the world."

Barbieri received a Latin Grammy lifetime achievement award in 2015. The Latin Recording Academy stated that Barbieri created "a rebellious but highly accessible musical style, combining contemporary jazz with Latin American genres and incorporating elements of instrumental pop."


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Barbieri won a Grammy for best instrumental composition in 1973 for his score to the movie “Last Tango in Paris,” which starred Marlon Brando.

He was born in Argentina to a family of musicians. He began playing the clarinet after he heard Charlie Parker’s “Now’s the Time.” He later played the alto sax while playing in an orchestra led by the pianist Lalo Schifrin. He eventually took up the tenor sax and was influenced by John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman. He became part of the free jazz movement. His later music incorporated rhythms from South America.

His last album, “New York Meeting,” was recorded in 2010 and featured jazz standards such as Miles Davis’ “So What.”

He is survived by his wife and son.

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