Barry Altschul

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Barry Altschul
Background information
Born (1943-01-06) January 6, 1943 (age 81)
New York City, U.S.
GenresAvant-garde jazz
Years active1960s–present
Barry Altschul, moers festival 2011

Barry Altschul (born January 6, 1943, in New York City)[1] is a free jazz and hard bop drummer[1] who first came to notice in the late 1960s for performing with pianists Paul Bley and Chick Corea.[2]


Altschul is of Russian Jewish heritage, the son of a laborer who did construction work and drove a taxi. Having initially taught himself to play drums, Altschul studied with Charlie Persip during the 1960s.[1] In the latter part of the decade, he performed with Paul Bley.[1] In 1969 he joined with Chick Corea, Dave Holland and Anthony Braxton to form the group Circle.[1] At the time, he made use of a high-pitched Gretsch kit with add-on drums and percussion instruments.

In the 1970s, Altschul worked extensively with Anthony Braxton's quartet featuring Kenny Wheeler, Dave Holland, and George E. Lewis.[1] Braxton, signed to Arista Records, was able to secure a large enough budget to tour with a collection of dozens of percussion instruments, strings and winds. In addition to his participation in ensembles featuring avant-garde musicians, Altschul performed with Lee Konitz, Art Pepper and other "straight ahead" jazz performers.

Altschul also made albums as a leader, but after the mid-1980s he was rarely seen in concert or on record, spending much of his time in Europe. Since the 2000s, he has become more visible, with two sideman appearances on the CIMP label with the FAB trio (with Billy Bang and Joe Fonda), the Jon Irabagon Trio recording Foxy and the bassist Adam Lane. Altschul has played or recorded with many musicians, including Roswell Rudd, Dave Liebman, Barre Phillips, Denis Levaillant, Andrew Hill, Sonny Criss, Hampton Hawes, and Lee Konitz. In 2012, Altschul began performing and recording with his new trio, the 3dom Factor, featuring saxophonist Jon Irabagon and double bassist Joe Fonda.[3] 2019 saw the first release by the OGJB Quartet, a collective group featuring saxophonist Oliver Lake, cornetist Graham Haynes, Joe Fonda, and Altschul.[4]


As leader[edit]

With the 3dom Factor (Altschul, Jon Irabagon, and Joe Fonda)


As co-leader[edit]

With the FAB Trio (Joe Fonda, Altschul, Billy Bang)

  • Transforming the Space (CIMP, 2003)
  • Live at Iron Works (Konnex, 2005)
  • A Night in Paris (Marge, 2008)
  • Live in Amsterdam (Porter, 2009)
  • History of Jazz in Reverse (TUM, 2011)


With the OGJB Quartet (Oliver Lake, Graham Haynes, Joe Fonda, Altschul)

  • Bamako (TUM, 2019)
  • Ode to O (TUM, 2022)


As sideman[edit]

With Paul Bley

With Anthony Braxton

With Chick Corea

With Annette Peacock

  • 1972 I'm the One
  • 2014 I Belong to a World That's Destroying Itself [aka Revenge]

With Sam Rivers

With Roswell Rudd

With Ullmann/Swell 4

  • 2004 Desert Songs and Other Landscapes (CIMP)
  • 2010 News? No News! (Jazzwerskstatt)
  • 2010 Live in Montreal (CIMP)
  • 2022 We're Playing in Here? (NoBusiness)

With others



  1. ^ a b c d e f Wynn, Ron (1994), Ron Wynn (ed.), All Music Guide to Jazz, M. Erlewine, V. Bogdanov, San Francisco: Miller Freeman, pp. 37–38, ISBN 0-87930-308-5
  2. ^ Cook, Richard (2005). Richard Cook's Jazz Encyclopedia. London: Penguin Books. p. 11. ISBN 0-141-00646-3.
  3. ^ Chinen, Nate (February 15, 2013). "A Stealth Eminence of the Avant-Garde, and New Vinyl". The New York Times. Retrieved April 2, 2024.
  4. ^ Jurek, Thom. "The OGJB Quartet Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved April 13, 2024.
  5. ^ "Barry Altschul Discography". Jazz Music Archives. Retrieved April 3, 2024.
  6. ^ "Barry Altschul - Virtuosi". Jazz Music Archives. Retrieved April 3, 2024.
  7. ^ Brown, Daniel A. (October 2023). "'Stop Time,' A Crucial Archival Release of Barry Altschul, David Izenzon and Perry Robinson Live Performance Documents a Peak Moment of NYC Free Jazz". WJCT. Retrieved December 22, 2023.
  8. ^ "Pepper Adams - Be-bop?". Jazz Music Archives. Retrieved April 3, 2024.
  9. ^ "Barry Altschul - BBK". Jazz Music Archives. Retrieved April 16, 2024.
  10. ^ "FAB Trio Discography". Jazz Music Archives. Retrieved April 3, 2024.
  11. ^ "OGJB Quartet Discography". Jazz Music Archives. Retrieved April 3, 2024.
  12. ^ "Barry Altschul | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved October 22, 2017.

External links[edit]