Born: April 2, 1970 Primary Instrument: Guitar
An impressive young guitarist, Jeff Barone has developed a strong reputation with his recordings (Crazy Talk and Open Up), live performances, and record producing. His playing invigorates the modern mainstream of jazz, swinging hard while looking forward.
He was born in Syracuse, New York and remembers, “Early on I heard a Joe Pass recording, Virtuoso. I had a cousin who owned a music store and, when I was eight, my parents gave me a guitar for Christmas. That is how it all started.” Exposed to jazz by an uncle who was a bassist and a cousin who played jazz piano, he developed quickly. At 16, Jeff was working in local jazz clubs and being hired to play with touring shows that visited Syracuse. He also performed with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra and worked with singer Al Martino under the direction of Tony Riposo. “By the time I was in high school, my life revolved around guitar and music, so it was a natural transition for me to become a professional musician.”
At Ithaca College where he earned a Bachelors in Music Education, Jeff studied classical guitar although his main instrument was classical percussion. He focused on the guitar at the Manhattan School Of Music where he received a Masters degree in Jazz Performance. During that period he also worked in small clubs in the Village including with singer Evelyn Blakey (Art Blakey’s daughter), Hershel Dwellingham’s group (Weather Report) and trumpeter Charles McGee (who had played with Archie Shepp and Rahsaan Roland Kirk). As his school days ended, he became part of the Harlem organ scene. Jeff worked with Jimmy “Preacher” Robins, Mel Davis, and for five years with Reuben Wilson. “It was a great experience playing with Reuben Wilson because he covered the full range of jazz. In Harlem clubs, we played straightahead jazz and standards. When we were outside of Harlem, we played more funk and acid jazz which was what he was known for. The guitar and the organ were made for each other. When the organist plays a left- handed bass, it leaves room for the guitar as opposed to the guitar and the piano where both instruments have to work hard not to step on each other’s toes.”
Guitarist Jack Wilkins has been an important force in Jeff Barone’s career. They have performed together in a variety of settings and Jack has recommended the younger guitarist for several important gigs including a concert with the Vanguard Orchestra, an opportunity to sub with the Mingus Epitaph Orchestra under the direction of Gunther Schuller, and an association with vibraphonist Warren Chiasson. “Jack was also instrumental in my record Crazy Talk happening in 2000. He gave me the push to finally make a recording.”
Crazy Talk, which was co-produced by the two guitarists (Wilkins makes two appearances) and released by the String Jazz label, features Jeff in a quartet with pianist Ron Oswanski, bassist Chris Berger and drummer Joe Strasser. Drummer Mike Clark (famed for being with Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters) guests on the title track. The mixture of standards and three of Jeff’s originals (“Resa’s Blues,” “To Care For” and “Crazy Talk”) is quite infectious with the leader excelling on both medium-tempo tunes and ballads. It is an impressive debut.
Jeff’s second CD as a leader, Open Up, was a major step forward. “I learned a lot from my first record, so the second one is better in its performances, arrangements, originals, and the overall production.” Jeff is joined on most of the selections by Ron Oswanski (who this time is heard on organ) and drummer Rudy Petschauer. There are also some welcome appearances by trumpeter Joe Magnarelli and altoist Mike Dubaniewicz. Two memorable selections (“Jenna’s Song” and “Quiet Now”) are duets with Jack Wilkins while Jeff takes “My Funny Valentine” as an unaccompanied solo. The CD, which is available from Jazzed Media, introduces four of Jeff’s originals and also includes fresh versions of such songs as “Falling In Love With Love,” “I Hear Music” and Denny Zeitlin’s “Quiet Now.” The music is modern jazz but also accessible, original and challenging but with a blues element and quite soulful.
Jeff Barone has gigged in recent times with trumpeter Tom Harrell, Warren Chiasson and Joe Magnarelli in addition to leading his own groups. He has worked at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, with Broadway shows and at jazz festivals including the JVC Jazz Festival. He has also been active as a record producer, working on such recordings as altoist Mike Dubaniewicz’s Drive Time, guitarist Jim Silberstein’s Express Lane, and an upcoming set for Jack Wilkins, Until It’s Time, that will be released by MaxJazz.
“I have been fortunate to be able to make my living playing guitar. For the future I want to keep progressing, recording and collaborating with other artists, always moving forward.” Based on his career thus far, there is no doubt that Jeff Barone will achieve his goals and continue a major contribution to jazz of the 21st century.
“…..One of the most listenable and accessible CDs of this decade.” “This is a guitarist on the rise.” Eric Shoaf, Vintage Guitar Magazine “NYC-based guitarist Jeff Barone will make new fans with this wide- ranging, imaginative release.: Zan Stewart, NJ.com
“ …..Barone sounds comfortable in his own skin, rolling out a series of potent, tasty bop phrases that fit the groove like well-worn gloves, saying more in a few droplets of notes than many others could say with tsunamis of sound. Plus he definitely swings, with flawless timing and a strong, precise attack.” -Bill Barnes, Jazz.com
“Jeff Barone’s new CD Open Up is a collection of eleven tunes (with one alternate take) comprised of finely crafted original compositions, virtuoso jazz guitar performance, musically tight ensemble work and creative improvisation.” “For fans of superb jazz guitar, super tight ensemble, inventive improvisation and catchy tunes and arrangements Jeff Barone’s Open Up would be a most welcome addition to any jazz aficionado’s collection.” -Craig W. Hurst, JazzReview.com
“Barone’s ability marks him in the elite class of contemporary jazz guitarists….” -Susan Frances, JazzReview.com
“Barone and company provide a great mix of moods and this CD comes highly recommended. “ - Jeff Krow , Audiophile Audition
“Jeff Barone has a clear vision of the Past, as he looks to the Future! “ --Justin Dicioccio
“New York-based guitarist and composer Jeff Barone follows up his 2003 debut (“Crazy Talk”) with a barnburner of a recording featuring masterful play on the strings and wonderful musical support.” “Open Up” is one album that will not disappoint you.” -- Edward Blanco, eJazzNews.com
“Jeff’s playing is technically masterful with a sound that comes right from the heart, with improvisations that are unique and emotionally satisfying.” -Jack Wilkins, Guitarist
“Crazy Talk is a solid mainstream jazz project with no weak spots. You can tell Jeff has paid his dues listening to the masters, but he has his own full sound that instantly tells you it’s Jeff Barone.” --Charles Chapman, Just Jazz Guitar Magazine
“Jeff is one of New York’s best kept secrets.” -Reuben Wilson, Jazz Organist/Composer
“Barone is a powerhouse on guitar with the passion of Django Reinhardt, the “go for broke” attitude of Brian Setzer…….” “Barone’s style embodies a confident and skillful player with a guitar tone that “snaps, crackles and pops” under the weight of his lines.” -Lyle Robinson, Jazz Guitar
“Jeff Barone is a real comer, and his debut recording Crazy Talk shows him to be an exceptionally fluent jazz guitarist with a great sense of swing and a tart, expressive sound all his own.” -Chip Stern, Jazz Critic
“I heartily recommend catching guitarist Jeff Barone and his band. His funky, clean guitar lines and varied set list of originals and delightful standards are engaging , accessible and inspired.” -Michael Fitzell, Westchester Magazine
On Crazy Talk, New York-based Jeff Barone unleashes his aggressive, in your face improvisational approach to mainstream jazz on tunes like In a Sentimental Mood, You Must Believe in Spring and Who Can I Turn To? -Jim Ferguson, JazzTimes
“Jeff Barone’s CD Crazy Talk is a must have. He puts on a veritable clinic in great jazz guitar playing on this recording. For the general jazz listener and aficionado, Crazy Talk would be a most welcome addition to any jazz CD collection and one that will be played often.” -Jazz Review.com
Tracks: 1. Duban's Groove 2. New Samba 3. If You Go Away 4. Open Up 5. Jenna's Song 6. Falling In Love With Love 7. Here's That Rainy Day 8. I Hear Music 9. My Funny Valentine 10. Toys 11. Quiet Now 12. Falling In Love With Love [Alternate Take] - (alternate take)
Personnel: Joe Magnarelli - trumpet; Ron Oswanski - Hammond b-3 organ; Mike Dubaniewicz - alto saxophone; Jeff Barone - guitar; Rudy Petschauer - drums; Jack Wilkins-producer/guitar
Tracks: 1. Resa's Blues 2. In a Sentimental Mood 3. To Care For 4. Don't Worry 'Bout a Thing 5. You Must Believe in Spring 6. Crazy Talk 7. She's the One 8. Close Your Eyes 9. Renewal 10. Who Can I Turn To
Ron Oswanski - piano; Chris Berger - bass; Joe Strasser - drums; Jeff Barone - acoustic & electric guitars; Jack Wilkins- co-producer & guitars; Mike Clark - drums;
As A Side Musician
Until It's Time
Tracks: 1. Arthur 2. Show Me 3. Blossom 4. Walk Don't Run 5. These Foolish Things 6. Lauro's Waltz 7. Two For The Road 8. Fur Elise 9. Tico Tico 10. Airegin 11. Blossom (extended version)
Personnel: Jack Wilkins -guitar; Jon Cowherd - piano; Steve LaSpina - bass; Mark Ferber - drums; Jeff Barone - producer, rhythm guitar;
Tracks: 1. Hubtones 2. Along Came Betty 3. I Can't Get Started 4. 20-20-11 5. Woman Across The River 6. Just Friends 7. Wee 8. Red Snapper 9. Gigue 10. Moontrane 11. Drive Time
Personnel: Kris Jensen - tenor saxophone; Samuel Torres - percussion; Vince Ector - drums; Ron Oswanski - piano, organ; Mike Dubaniewicz - alto saxophone; Jeff Barone - guitar, producer; Roger Lent - trumpet;
Tracks: 1. From This Moment On 2. Kiwi Bird 3. You Don't Know What Love Is 4. Come Rain or Come Shine 5. Shadows 6. Expresslane 7. A Simple Thank You 8. Glass Garden 9. My Romance 10. Skylark 11. Lament
Personnel: Eric Alexander- Tenor Sax; Jeff Barone- Producer; Vince Cherico- Drums; Steve Davis-Trombone; Anne Drummond-Flute; Jill McCarron-Keyboards; Kate McGarry -Vocals; Jim Rotondi- Trumpet; Harvie S Bass- Arranger, Producer Daniel Sadownick Percussion James Silberstein Guitar
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