Gato Barbieri was largely unknown when he entered the studio in November 1969 to record his first Flying Dutchman album. He’d recorded an LP for ESP and had appeared as a sideman on a few others, including Charlie Haden’s “Liberation Music Orchestra” on Impulse, produced by Thiele. Seeing something in the saxophonist, Thiele signed him up and let him loose to work on a musical idea he had. Barbieri had come to realise that he was ignoring the music of his home continent and if he could find a way of fusing it with jazz he could become a distinctive voice. The resultant “The Third World” saw him recording versions of numbers by South American composers such as Heitor Villa-Lobos and Astor Piazzolla and marked a brave step forward in his concept. His next album “Fenix” would provide him with his breakthrough but “The Third World” is an important work and an early validation of Thiele’s faith in him.
By Dean Rudland