Born: June 19, 1967 Primary Instrument: Trumpet
Canadian trumpet player Darren Barrett was born to Jamaican parents. His father worked as an auto mechanic and his mother worked in a factory. Darren's dad was also a part-time musician who pushed all his five children toward music, and there was always jazz, reggae, all kinds of music in the house. As a result, his three older brothers also became professional musicians.
Darren remembers that, the first time I heard Miles Davis was on the record 'Round About Midnight, and when I heard Miles' sound and his approach, I knew that the instrument I wanted to play was the trumpet.
Two early teachers were particularly significant: in middle school, trumpeter Dan Moir, and in high school Ron Botnick, who had the band sounding like Maynard Ferguson. Besides Miles, Freddie Hubbard, and Woody Shaw, Darren cites Clifford Brown as a major influence, explaining, Clifford, to me, was one of the great improvisers on the trumpet. After high school, Darren attended the Humber College Jazz program in Toronto, Canada, where he studied with Raynard Schmidt and Don Johnson, who were two of Toronto's great trumpet teachers. Darren spent a year at Humber College and in that year he won the Boddington's Music Brass Award for excellence in performance.
In 1986, Darren attended the Berklee College of Music on a full scholarship, receiving a BA in Professional Music in 1990. During his Berklee years, Darren's fellow students included Antonio Hart, Javon Jackson, Mark Turner, Roy Hargrove and Sam Newsome. In addition to his inspiring collaborators, the infamous Mass. Avenue club, Wally's, served as a proving ground, as well.
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.
In 1997, Darren earned a Diploma in Jazz Performance from the Thelonious Monk Institute where he was a member of the inaugural class. At the Monk program, he studied with Barry Harris, Wynton Marsalis, and Clark Terry, and got to perform with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. In 1997, Darren entered and won 1st place in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, the biggest jazz competition in the world, which highlights a different instrument each year.
Darren went on to release his first album as a bandleader, 'First One Up' in 1999, followed by 'Deelings' in 2001. His newest project 'Wrenaissance Volume 1' was released in May 2004, incorporating R&B, Hip Hop, and world music highlighting his skills playing Nyle Steiner's creation, the EVI (Electronic valve instrument). Darren has performed or recorded with Elvin Jones, Jackie McLean, Herbie Hancock, Antonio Hart, among others.
Darren is currently an Associate Professor in the ensembles department at his alma mater, Berklee College of Music, in Boston, MA and has private students as well.
Darren Barrett CDs
Discography at Darren Barrett's official website.
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