One of the many Jews to contribute immensely to the classic NYC salsa scene, Barry Rogers was a Bronx-bred trombonist who was a first call of many Latin bandleaders, as well as a founding member of the excellent '70s fusion group Dreams (along with Billy Cobham, The Brecker Brothers, John Abercrombie and others).
Neighborhood-wise, he came up in mambo & jazz territory. A jazzer at his core, Rogers started playing in Latin bands in the mid '50s. He led the Hugo Dickens group, of which many of the best players of the day (Marty Sheller, Hubert Laws, Bobby Porcelli, Pete LaRoca Simms and others) graduated from. He partnered with Eddie Palmieri in La Perfecta, the most innovative band in Latin music in the early '60s, with its pioneering multi-trombone attack. He participated in many charanga & descarga jams of the period, including with Johnny Pacheca and Alegre All-Stars. A dizzying array of sessions with a who's who of great salsa bandleaders left a huge mark, not the least of which affected Willie Colón, who cites Rogers as a major influence.
He would dance around as he played and brought his jazz chops to a wide range of projects. Through the years he has also worked with Tito Puente, Manny Oquendo, Cachao, Machito, Celia Cruz, Henri Guedon (who also has a birthday today), Orquesta Broadway, Fania All Stars, Pucho & his Latin Soul Brothers and everybody else. His other work included Dreams and appearances with several popular artists such as Aretha Franklin, Elton John, David Byrne, James Taylor, Todd Rundgren, George Benson, Chaka Khan, Herbie Mann and many, many more. He also played tuba and alto horn.
Laid down in '64, this one was a big international hit, and has been covered by Congolese rumba star Franco to the delight of African music fans. Here's the OG:
In the early '70s he co-founded Dreams, in my opinion one of the highlights of the era's many jazz-rock-funk fusion bands. He composed and arranged for the band and worked the front line with The Brecker Brothers:
Barry came back to Palmieri from time to time, including the Grammy-winning The Sun of Latin Music ('74). Check out this progressive tune, arranged by Rogers:
And, well, this is quite fun: