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