This year will mark two milestones in the arts: the 80th birthday of Argentine saxophonist and composer Gato “the Cat” Barbieri, and the 40th anniversary of the release of Bernardo Bertolucci’s provocative film, Last Tango in Paris, starring Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider.

This highly profitable motion picture has received an abundance of attention over the years, both good and bad, but the music, and especially Barbieri’s theme performed on his characteristically growling tenor saxophone, is an undisputed classic.

Barbieri’s score, arranged by Oliver Nelson, won Barbieri a Grammy Award and subsequent recording contract with Impulse Records. It placed him on the label sometimes called “the house that Trane built,” for which Barbieri’s idol, John Coltrane, recorded three-dozen albums between 1961 and 1967.

Barbieri has seen much of his recorded work re-issued over the years, and in 2002 he released The Shadow of the Cat, which includes guest appearances by trumpeter Herb Alpert and percussionist Sheila E.

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posted by Michael Juk on Apr 30, 2012