This is the second J Curve release by trumpeter Darren Barrett, a relatively young firebrand who won the Thelonious Monk trumpet competition four years ago. As on the previous album ( First One Up
), what Barrett and his companions lay down sounds much like the Blue Note sessions from the ’50s and ’60s that featured such nimble–fingered players as Donald Byrd (who produced this album), Lee Morgan or Freddie Hubbard. Neo–bop? Call it what you will; there’s little doubt, however, that Barrett is carrying on the tradition, as are his sidemen. The difference this time around is that they’ve amplified Barrett’s seven original compositions with a pair of standards, “Another You” and “I’m Glad There Is You.” It’s good to hear Barrett work his way through some familiar changes, as it gives one a clearer picture of where he stands in relation to his trumpet–playing peers (Payton, Hargrove, Blanchard, Roney and so on). Unfortunately, he improvises only on “I’m Glad,” which, like “Another You,” is played as a ballad, but produces one of his more persuasive solos on the oft–played warhorse. Elsewhere, he couples a handsome sound with impressive chops, but — as we commented when reviewing his earlier album — “leaves an inescapable impression that what is being said has been recited many times before, often with deeper awareness and broader substance.” The same is true of Barrett’s compositions, which may best be described as serviceable but otherwise generic. As for Barrett’s front–line parter, it would be impossible to pluck Greene from a lineup of unsung post–bop tenors, no matter how small the gathering. He plays the proper notes, but one has heard them all before. The rhythm section presses home the bop–era ambiance with Lamkin — evidently inspired by Art Blakey — and Goldberg redeeming in enthusiasm what they may lack in subtlety or shading. Barrett, as we’ve said before, shows considerable promise; what he doesn’t have, at least not yet, is an unmistakable voice of his own. Deelings
may or may not represent another step toward that goal. Only time can tell.
Contact:J-Curve Records, P.O. Box 867, Cincinnati, OH 45201–0867 (phone 513–624–9599). Web site, www.jcurverecords.com
Personnel: Darren Barrett, trumpet; Jimmy Greene, tenor saxophone; Aaron Goldberg, piano; Reuben Rogers, bass; John Lamkin, drums.