We are products of our environment. Darren Barrett chooses his. Strong influences have helped shape the trumpeter's sound, and he seems determined to allow nothing to affect his choices unless it's at the very top of the form. Clifford Brown's legacy appears through two classic ballads. Barrett has refined his tone quality to the point where few can match the purity. The rest of the program consists of the leader's hard-driving originals. Barrett's hard-hitting, energetic approach recalls Freddie Hubbard in his prime. His exploring nature and colorful ensemble moods capture the exploits of Miles Davis, while his soulful emotional warmth and consistency derive from Donald Byrd. Barrett also exhibits overt traces from three unique artists with whom he's studied: Clark Terry, Wynton Marsalis and Barry Harris. Donald Byrd's protégé, the 33-year-old trumpeter who won first place in the 10th annual Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, holds two master's degrees in music from Queens College in New York and is currently working on a doctorate. Born in England of Jamaican parentage, Barrett was raised in Toronto. The youngest of four brothers, he's called by the nickname Dee. Hence, the title for his second album: Deelings
. There's more. Barrett has introduced one aspect of hard work with which we can all relate: overcoming obstacles. We deal
The band returns from Barrett's first album. Most of the artists have been together since 1995, and a significant cohesiveness is the result. Several pieces feature powerful rhythmic underpinnings that suggest a balanced team approach. Others relate an exotic impression that colors with an international palette. Barrett's sophomore album ranks high on this year's top ten list and offers a distinct sign that there's much more to come.
Personnel: Darren Barrett- trumpet; Jimmy Greene- tenor saxophone; Aaron Goldberg- piano; Reuben Rogers- bass; John Lankin- drums.