Time For Romance: But Beautiful
Street Date: September 26th, 2018
db Studios

A follow up to last years’ experimental The Opener (“Jazz’s future may very well sound like this,” said Downbeat Magazine’s Brian Zimmerman), Time For Romance: But Beautiful showcases another side of the distinguished trumpeter as he explores eight classic ballads infused with soundscapes, synthesis and samples. “My overall focus was to make a modern ballads recording of sounds of the past, present and future,” said Barrett on his approach to his new project.

Barrett’s Time for Romance band is comprised of Takeru Saito on piano, Youngchae Jeong on Bass and Daniel Moreno on Drums. The album also includes keyboardist and synthesis wizard Santiago Bosch and percussionist Judy Barrett. Joining the group on one track is special guest guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel.

On Time for Romance: But Beautiful, Barrett made the melodies his lead priority. “I wanted to present the melodies with true sincerity and beauty,” he said. To aid him, Barrett studied the lyrical content of songs closely in an attempt to “get inside the head” of the writers. For further inspiration, he listened to the great singers, such as Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday. Barrett’s clear tone and melodic playing is complemented by his creative use of electronics and samples.  

Perfecting sound design was an important part of Barrett’s process. As evidenced on tracks like “Ugly Beauty” and “Everytime We Say Goodbye”, Barrett utilized organic sounds (taken from the city and from nature) in his production. In addition, the trumpeter took cues from Drake’s producer 40 Shebib in creating the ambience. “Everything Happens to Me” perhaps personifies Barrett’s intention best; the first part of the track is remixed, almost like a drum track reminiscent of trap music and dubstep synthesis, before transitioning to the traditional jazz band.

Post-production, Barrett experimented heavily with the mix “by placing the trumpet upfront in the mix as if it’s jumping out of the speaker. In all my recording projects with my various bands, the mix is as important as the musical performance,” he said.

Among the eight tracks on Time For Romance: But Beautiful, the opener “Con Alma”,  is particularly affecting. “I was excited to record and dedicate “Con Alma” to the great Dizzy Gillespie. To me Dizzy was a genius and I loved the way he infused Afro-Cuban, Caribbean and Brazilian rhythms with jazz,” said Barrett. The track also features special guest Kurt Rosenwinkel. “I love to hear him play solo guitar and asked him to play the song solo guitar out front,” said Barrett, adding, “… he did so wonderfully. He is simply an amazing musician and always plays so brilliantly.” The addition of Mexican percussionist Judy Barrett adds an extra degree of richness to the tune. “Judy is a big fan of Dizzy Gillespie’s musical legacy and she really understands my musical process and how to add life to the music. “

With the release of Time For Romance: But Beautiful, Barrett continues to break out of confining, genre-binding norms to create a multifaceted masterwork that redefines what it means to record “a ballads record”.

"dB-ish: The Opener"
Street Date: August 22, 2017

After dedicating several years to cultivate experimental album, “dB-ish: The Opener”, Barrett is now thrilled to present this finalised and polished project. Featuring special guest guitarists Kurt Rosenwinkel and Nir Felder, “dB-ish: The Opener” brilliantly combines acoustic instruments with synthesis, samples and soundscapes. “Sometimes we play open, sometimes we play structured and then sometimes we play over vamps.  What I really love is there is room for melodies, room for improvisation, room for the synthesis, room for samples and soundscapes,” says Barrett on his approach to his new project.  

The group features several long time bandmates, including Alexander Toth on bass, Anthony Toth on drums and Santiago Bosch on piano and keyboards. The album also includes respected saxophonists Clay Lyons and Erena Terakubo, percussionist Judith Barrett and dynamic keyboardist Chad Selph.  Barrett is particularly honoured to be joined by world-renowned guitarists Kurt Rosenwinkel and Nir Felder on two tracks: “The Opener” and “To Conversate” respectively.

“Kurt is simply brilliant. His abilities are endless. Nir Felder has a wondrous approach to playing music that was so perfect for this project.”


Trumpeter, pianist, singer and drummer Darren Barrett has had an extraordinary career. He has performed and recorded with Elvin Jones, Jackie McLean, Herbie Hancock, Roy Hargrove Big Band, Common, Will.i.am, D’Angelo, Myron Walden Momentum, and Antonio Hart. He performed on Esperanza Spalding’s Grammy Award-winning album Radio Music Society in 2012. He came in first place in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition for trumpet in 1997. His recordings include First One Up (1999); Deelings (2001); Wrenaissance, Vol. 1 (2004); A Very Barrett Christmas (2011); The Music of the Bee Gees (2014), with Energy in Motion; Live and Direct (2014), with dB Quintet. Trumpet Vibes (2015) with Trumpet Vibes, The Music of Amy Winehouse (2016) with Trumpet Vibes and dB-ish The Opener (2017) with dB-ish He now leads several ensembles and musical configurations including dB Quintet, Energy In Motion, dB-ish, dB Treyo, Trumpet Vibes and Time For Romance. He is a Professor in the Ensemble Department at his alma mater, Berklee College of Music in Boston.  


For Time For Romance: But Beautiful

"Darren Barrett and Kurt Rosenwinkel team up for a compelling rendition of Con Alma." Listen to track premiere here.

"Thelonius Monk’s “Ugly Beauty” is slow and atmospheric. Barrett plays simply and it works effectively with the rhythm section accompaniment." Read the full review here.

"With the launch of this Time for Romance: But Beautiful, Barrett continues transgressing norms of music and imposes new milestones in what is a disc of ballads." Read the full Spanish review here.

For "dB-ish - The Opener"

"More than a technically proficient player, Barrett is a player of boundless soul and strong rhythmic drive, and though his style reveals a sturdy hard-bop backbone, he's willing to push his musical identity toward new horizons." Read the full review here.

"Mr. Barrett’s new album is “dB-ish: The Opener,” a rangy collection of electrified original tunes that ought to push him back into the conversation." Read the full review here.

"This disc certainly focuses on ensemble work and one’s flexibility throughout." Read the full feature here.

"Barrett's fusion of electronic and acoustic sounds succeeds, and his attempt to invigorate existing forms comes across as both smart and sincere." Read the full review here.

"Opening the sound up in fine style, this set shows just how well the listener can groove without getting up from his chair. A real breath of fresh air." Read the full review here.

"This is a surprise package of infectious music. First cut, “The Opener,” and title tune sets the energetic precedence of this recording." Read the full review.

Featured in the September edition of "The Month in Jazz". Check out the full feature here.

"Here, he's set a new bar way high what with his use of synthesis, samples, soundscapes and trippy electronica. Wholeheartedly recommended." Check out the full feature here.

"The scrumptiously groovecentric dB-ish: The Openerprovides a gut punch of originality in its no-nonsense conception. Open mind, open ears, open style, open world… the future of jazz might well reside here!" Read the full review here.


“The Opener is exhilarating, quirky and unpretentious”. Read the full review here.

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