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Winner of the 1997 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, trumpeter Darren Barrett picks up where many of today’s young cats start, at the alter of Clifford Brown, Freddie Hubbard, and Kenny Dorham. That ain’t all bad. Barrett, a member of Jackie McLean’s working band, churns from the gitgo on this recording. Produced by Donald Byrd, this session is recorded much like a Criss Cross record, which is to say, a lot like those old Blue Note workouts. Kenny Garrett sits in on three tracks, two of which are alternative takes on an absolute cooker, “First One Up,” which is a testosterone filled jam. You just have to dig the young lions. Barrett, like Marcus Printup show us that there will always be room for faster, hip, note slinging trumpeters. Sure it’s hard keeping track of the Paytons, Hargroves, Roneys, and Kisors of today. But, I’ll argue that like gunslingers, unless we maintain the competition, we’ll end up with a drunken sheriff and more fusion/smooth jazz than you can stomach.
Track List:First On e Up (Take One); Word! Dr. Byrd; Impossible; 2 To 4; Grand Ravine; Up Down – Inside Outside; Conceta Elfreda; A New Day Comes; Reflections; First One Up (Take Two); Dee’s Theme.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.