dB in Action
|Birth name||Darren Barrett|
|Genres||Jazz, Pop, Reggae, R&B, Jazz Fusion, Jazz-Funk|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, music educator, songwriter, bandleader, music producer, music engineer, photographer, videography|
|Instruments||Trumpet, flugelhorn, EVI|
|Labels||JCurve, Nagel Heyer Records|
|Associated acts||Antonio Hart Quintet, Jackie McLean Quintet, Roy Hargrove Big Band, Elvin Jones Jazz Machine, Myron Walden Momentum, Tabou Combo, Earth Driver|
Canadian Grammy Award-winning trumpet player Darren Barrett was born to Jamaican parents in Manchester, England, and at nine months old moved with his family to Toronto, Canada, growing up in a home where there was always music (his father was a part-time musician). Barrett remembers: "the first time I heard Miles Davis was on the record 'Round About Midnight, and when I heard Miles' sound and approach, I knew that the instrument I wanted to play was the trumpet." His three older brothers would also go on to become professional musicians.
In 1986, Darren Barrett attended Berklee College of Music on a full scholarship, receiving a BA in Professional Music in 1990. He went on to receive an MA in Jazz Performance in 1993, and an MS in Music Education from Queens College in 1995. It was there that he came under the influence of Dr. Donald Byrd, who became something of a father figure for the young trumpeter. "My quest for a Doctorate degree was interrupted by a special program that was being developed, called the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, at the New England Conservatory of Music." In 1997, Barrett earned a Diploma in Jazz Performance from the Thelonious Monk Institute, where he was a member of the inaugural class and "studied with Barry Harris, Wynton Marsalis, and Clark Terry, getting the opportunity to perform alongside Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter". In 1997, Barrett entered and won first place in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, the biggest jazz competition in the world, which highlights a different instrument each year.
Barrett went on to release his first album as a bandleader, First One Up, in 1999, followed by Deelings in 2001, The Attack of Wren: Wrenaissance Volume 1 in 2004, and A Very Barrett Christmas in 2011. He has most recently released Energy In Motion: The Music Of The Bee Gees (2014) and Live And Direct 2014. Barrett has performed or recorded with Elvin Jones, Jackie McLean, Herbie Hancock, Roy Hargrove Big Band, Common, Will.i.am, Talib Kweli, Esperanza Spalding and Antonio Hart, among others.
Barrett is currently an Associate Professor in the ensembles and brass department at his alma mater, Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. "I'm working on my craft, trying to be as professional and proficient as I can be. I'm just trying to reach people with my music, trying to concentrate on myself as a performer, bandleader and composer. I have many different bands but they all give me the musical platform to pursue anything possible. I want to continue exploring music and the trumpet by being open to the gamut of creativity, incorporating electronics into live shows, and realizing that one must have a great product and a great live show. These are my key principles.”
- BA in Professional Music from Berklee College of Music, 1990
- MA in Jazz Performance from Queens College, 1993
- MS in Music Education from Queens College, 1995
- Diploma in Jazz Performance from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, 1997
- Lennie Johnson Scholarship 1987
- Lennie Johnson Scholarship 1988
- Lennie Johnson Scholarship 1989
- Thelonious Monk International Trumpet Competition 1997 – 1st place
- First One Up (J Curve Records, 1999)
- Deelings (J Curve Records, 2001)
- The Attack of Wren: Wrenaissance, Volume 1 (Nagel Heyer Records, 2004)
- A Very Barrett Christmas (2011)
- Energy In Motion: The Music Of The Bee Gees (dB Productions, 2014)
- Darren Barrett & dB Quintet, Live And Direct 2014 (dB Productions, 2014)
With Elvin Jones
- The Truth: Heard Live at the Blue Note (Half Note, 1999)
- Roy Hargrove Big Band: Emergence (Emarcy, 2009)
- Esperanza Spalding: Radio Music Society (Heads Up International, 2012)
- Myron Walden: Momentum: Our Sound (Demi, 2013)
- Darren Barrett at All About Jazz. Accessed October 4, 2010.
- Steve Graybow, "The Billboard spotlight: Jazz: Indie Labels at Work" Billboard, June 10, 2000, Vol. 112, No. 24, pp. 63, 68. ISSN 0006-2510. Accessed October 4, 2010.
- Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition at Berklee website. Accessed October 4, 2010.
- Scott Yanow, The Trumpet Kings: the players who shaped the sound of jazz trumpet (Hal Leonard Corporation, 2001), pp. 40-41. ISBN 978-0-87930-640-3. Accessed October 4, 2010.
- For examples of Barrett's work at Berklee, see Ensembles Week: Jazz, Avant-Garde and Ensemble Showcase: Middle Eastern, Jazz at Berklee website. Accessed October 4, 2010.
- "Darren Barrett" at Smalls Jazz Club.
- John Murph, "Darren Barrett", Jazz Times, October 2001.
- "Darren Barrett", 2013 Aaron Gottlieb Agency, 2013.
- "Coming June 17: Trumpeter Darren Barrett Releases Two Albums", Fully Altered Media.
- "Darren Barrett – First One Up" at All Music.
- "Darren Barrett - Deelings CD". CD Universe.
- Alex Henderson, "Darren Barrett – Deelings", All Music.
- Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., "Darren Barrett – Attack of Wren: Wrenaissance, Vol. 1", AllMusic.
- Mark F. Turner, "Darren Barrett Energy In Motion: The Music Of The Bee Gees (2014)", All About Jazz, August 1, 2014.