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Chelsea Baratz

:There’s a new voice on the saxophone, forged in the gritty steel town of Pittsburgh. Her name is Chelsea Baratz and at 24, her soulful sound is a fiery combination of be-bop swing and hip hop hooks. Her debut release "In Faith" illuminates the distinctive tenor of an emerging player and original composer. She’s a band leader whose music follows in the footsteps of 1960’s soul jazz and the hard bop roots of her hometown. Innovative and ear-bending with a sizzling originality to her horn, Baratz’s music is heartfelt, simple in its power to bridge quiet moments with bursts of fiery improvisation. When she picks up her saxophone, the soul of her own life comes alive. It’s a reflection of the obstacles she’s overcome and provides a backbone to her music. On "In Faith", it’s evident that she is no stranger to pain, struggle, love and loss. These experiences are gracefully embued in her music. Or as Baratz simply states

“Art mirrors life, and music expresses what words can not. It’s vital for people to know that I'm here to bring the soul and feel-good back to jazz music and bridge the gap between artist and listener.”

Her debut album, "In Faith", produced by trumpeter Maurice Brown, brings this powerful message home. Baratz’s inventive sound and vibe carries forward the past echoes of Pittsburgh’s gospel, blues and soul heritage into the present day. On "In Faith", she catches the ear of listeners with nine original compositions, ending with a Fela Kuti tribute. Nine songs with the weight of conscious, as well as a propulsive beat. Compositions that reveal the young artist's strong roots in the jazz tradition while incorporating influences from R&B, hip-hop, gospel, contemporary jazz, and blues. In addition to Maurice Brown’s presence as a producer and player, "In Faith" boasts a roster of Corey Wilkes on trumpet & flugelhorn; Orrin Evans & Mike Murray on piano; Richie Goods & Luques Curtis on bass; Obed Calvaire, Jevon Rushton & Joe Blaxx on drums as well as special guests Renee Nuefville (vocals), Chris Rob (vocals/Moog synth), Raymond Angry (keys) and Craig Handy (flute). Her first album as a band leader displays a confident artist who intuitively gathered the right musicians together in the studio to cultivate her distinctive sound, resulting in a “recommended pick” by Jazzchicago.net (http://www.jazzchicago.net/reviews/2010/QuickHits6.html).

As a teenager, Baratz became a regular on the Pittsburgh jazz circuit, playing with the likes of legendary hard-bop drummer Roger Humphries, bassist Dwayne Dolphin and trumpet giant Sean Jones. She honed her craft with the guidance from the best of the Iron City's local musicians, as well as a brief interlude with saxophonist Branford Marsalis. Intent on continuing Pittsburgh's jazz legacy, Baratz moved to New York at 19 to attend the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music on a scholarship.

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"Saxophonist Chelsea Baratz takes her listeners into an urban groove setting with music and it is a pleasure hearing this talented young lady's hip musical direction. A musical disciple of Sean Jones and Branford Marsalis, Baratz is also an associate of young stars like trumpeters Corey Wilkes and Maurice "Mobetta" Brown and bassist extraordinaire Richie Goods - all of whom appear at times on her debut In Faith. "Philo's Groove" starts things off with a surprisingly tough-minded groove and is heightened by some fine sax, Craig Handy on flute, Wilkes' muted trumpet, Goods rubbery bass and Renee Neufville's vocals. The "Mobetta Remix" of the title track is a clear single - with Brown on muted trumpet, fellow Soul'd U Out keyboardist Chris Rob on moog synth and Raymond Angry on tasty Fender Rhodes. The lovely "Sentiments of Solitude" is a more straight-ahead jazz ballad with impressive work from Baratz and pianist Orrin Evans on this surprisingly mature and sensuous composition that has the ability to get under your skin. Baratz has grown immensely as a player since her work on Corey Wilkes' Drop It (see our review here) - her tasteful solo here may be her finest yet. "601" meanwhile, brings back the funk with Goods, Wilkes, drummer Jevon Rushton and electric pianist Mike Murray laying down a bouncy groove for Baratz to show some burning chops - this young player has obviously been working hard.

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Primary Instrument

Saxophone, tenor

Willing to teach

Advanced only



Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Somewhere Different

Impulse! Records


In Faith

Self Produced




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