This is the debut recording by trumpeter Darren Barrett who in ’97 won the annual international Jazz competition sponsored by the Thelonious Monk Institute. The man clearly has exceptional chops and enthusiasm to match — but he leaves an inescapable impression that what is being said has been recited many times before, often with deeper awareness and broader substance. In other words, purposeful as Barrett and his companions are, there’s nothing notably fresh or absorbing in their repertoire, which consists here of eight original compositions by Barrett (“First One Up” is performed twice) and one each by Steve Allen (“Impossible”) and Thelonious himself (“Reflections”). Barrett sounds much like several of his more recent predecessors (Roy Hargrove, Nicholas Payton, Marcus Printup, Terence Blanchard, Wallace Roney and others) with the obligatory nods toward Freddie Hubbard, Donald Byrd, Lee Morgan and other old–line boppers. One of the drawbacks is that Barrett’s compositions, while earnest in their intent, haven’t much meat on their bones and thus serve mainly as routine springboards for improvisation. Another is that pianist Goldberg could use a more delicate touch to great advantage (and is that him or his piano making those strange noises while he solos?). Barrett’s front–line partners, Greene (on eight tracks) and Garrett (on three), are quite capable but stylistically inseparable from many of their contemporaries. Make no mistake, Barrett shows great promise and gives an exceedingly good account of himself throughout, and First One Up may one day be seen in retrospect as the wellspring of an uncommonly productive career. For now, however, we must observe that “promising” is about as suitable a word as discretion will allow. The more acclamatory phrases may come later.
Track listing: First One Up (take 1); Word! Dr. Byrd; Impossible; 2 to 4; Grand Ravine; Up Down–Inside Outside; Conceta Elfreda; A New Day Comes; Reflections; First One Up (take 2); Dee’s Theme (65:24).
Darren Barrett, trumpet; Aaron Goldberg, piano; Jimmy Greene, tenor, soprano sax; Kenny Garrett, alto sax (1, 6, 10); Reuben Rogers, bass; John Lamkin, drums.
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. After going through Rock 'n Roll, the Beatles and Heavy Metal/Hard Rock phases over the next eight or so years, I finally bought my first jazz album; We're All Together Again for the First Time by Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan. I was hooked on jazz, and still am 40+ years later.
I moved from England to the USA in 2002, and founded the Brookfield Jazz Society in 2005.
I became editor of the quarterly IAJRC Journalin 2012. The magazine goes to the worldwide membership of the IAJRC (International Association of Jazz Record Collectors) and many major libraries and educational establishments around the world.
As well as being the editor of the IAJRC Journal, I write about jazz and review CDs, vinyl, DVDs and books on jazz.
Login to your All About Jazz member account to submit articles and press releases, upload images, edit musician profiles, add events and business listings, communicate with other members via personal messages, submit inqueries or contribute any content.