Title - 'The Music of Amy Winehouse'
Artist - Darren Barrett
Trumpeter Darren Barrett has just released his eighth album, and as a follow-up to his last album, Trumpet Vibes it is a damn fine one, trust me. Entitled The Music of Amy Winehouse, the man who wears his Jamaican ancestry proudly - whether it be physically through his music or spiritually through his bloodline - delves deep into the small, yet rich library of work of the taken-too-soon late British music icon, Amy Winehouse.
Released on the dB Studios label, The Music of Amy Winehouse brings forth the award-winning Canadian musician, composer and producer at his best, and may well - for a lot of us fans of Winehouse - showcase some of the most beautiful, soulful, and undeniably resonate 10 tracks to embrace the musical flow of Winehouse's heartbeat since her passing.
So just how did he set his mind to discovering the work of the late British songstress? Well, as he himself tells it, he was flipping through cable TV while taking a break from a recording session when he stumbled upon a live concert by Amy Winehouse. He had heard the buzz about the unconventional British artist, but hadn't heard any of her music until that moment. The musician of Jamaican descent with a proclivity for incorporating reggae into his neo-bop jazz recordings was instantly struck by the way the rhythm & soul singer-songwriter infused reggae into her very own throwback tracks.
"I was surprised to discover that the majority of her concert consisted of performing music mirroring the spirit-liberating sound of reggae music. Damn! Amy was laying the music down like one of the ‘old heads.' She immediately gained much respect from me and I soon became a fan and a loyal follower of her fast-moving musical career," Barrett recalls about his 2008 discovery and the inspiration for this joyous trumpet celebration of her work on his eighth album.
"Tears Dry On Their Own"
"Our Day Will Come"
"Back To Black"
"Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow"
"To Know Him Is To Love Him"
"Tears Dry On Their Own" (Clean Version)
Now knowing where his next musical inspiration lay, Barrett and his Trumpet Vibes band (a jazz and reggae group) selected ten songs from the late artist's songbook and spent over a year working on the arrangements and rehearsing before entering the studio. And it shows, for each one of these songs invokes the spirit of Winehouse quite like nothing I've ever quite heard since her sad passing.
Indeed, to recreate Winehouse's high voltage, multi-tiered sound, Barrett augmented his band by adding guitars, keyboards, saxophone and percussion to the Trumpet Vibes line-up that consists of the trumpeter-producer, bassist Alexander Toth, drummer Anthony Toth and vibraphonist Simon Moullier (noted vibraphonist Warren Wolf is featured on "Our Day Will Come").
And so, I hear you ask, is this simply an orchestrally-created trumpet vibe set of solo tracks, or is there a female voice attached to the songs? Well, the answer is both. For yes, Barrett and his band of merry men do control the music that ebbs and flows, of course, but there is also a highly controlled, astutely vocal female vocalist capable of capturing Winehouse's uniquely soulful and charismatic spirit here too. Joanna Teters (a former student at Berklee College of Music) is that very lady and on tracks such as "Tears Dry On Their Own," "Rehab," "Back To Black" and "Just Friends", Teters comes close to making the songs her own, that's for sure.
In closing, maintaining a prolific album release pace since 2014, The Music of Amy Winehouse follows last fall's critically-hailed jazz and reggae mashup Trumpet Vibes perfectly, and ensures that a more straight-ahead jazz outing from the dB Quintet (expected in the first quarter of 2017) will be as highly anticipated as this brand new album here today.
Darren Barrett @ Twitter