Profile: Dan Barrett
Born in Pasadena, California, and raised in nearby Costa Mesa, Dan Barrett began playing the trombone at the age of eleven, and the cornet shortly thereafter. In high school he formed his first group, the Back Bay Jazz Band. This sextet presented the music of King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton and other early jazz greats to Southern California audiences. During this time, Dan played many local jobs with the great New Orleans musicians Ed "Montudie" Garland, Alton Purnell, Mike DeLay, Joe Darensbourg, Nappy Lamare, and Barney Bigard, hearing about the "old days" first-hand.
In 1977, Dan made the first of many trips to Europe, to appear at the Breda International Jazz Festival in Holland. Several passports later, he has become a welcome guest at dozens of jazz festivals abroad, and has formed close friendships with many musicians overseas.
Dan and his wife, Laura, moved to New
York City in 1983. He spent a
busy couple of years touring with and writing for the Widespread
Jazz Orchestra, and later was a frequent guest at Eddie Condons jazz club and other Manhattan night-spots.
It was at Eddie Condons that Benny Goodman first heard Dan play, and shortly
thereafter asked him to join what would be the King of Swings last orchestra.
While in New York, Dan also co-led the popular Howard Alden - Dan Barrett Quintet
(the ABQ).Dan has played both valve and slide trombones for many motion pictures,
including The Cotton Club and Brighton Beach Memoirs, as well as
Woody Allens Mighty Aphrodite, Everyone Says I Love You,
and Bullets Over Broadway. If you look fast, you can see Dan on the screen
in the latter film. (Hes featured a bit more in the recent movie, Wild
Man Blues. This award-winning film documents a three-week tour of Europe
by Woody Allens New Orleans Jazz Band). Dan has performed four times at
Carnegie Hall: with Woody Herman (and the New York Pops Orchestra), Joe Bushkin,
and in two tributes to Louis Armstrong, respectively. Additionally, he has composed
and arranged the theme music for the American Playhouse television production
of Rocket to the Moon, and Christopher Munch's new motion picture starring
Jacqueline Bisset, The Sleepy Time Gal. Dan still finds the time to appear
at numerous jazz parties and festivals throughout the United States, Canada,
Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Japan.
Barrett has recorded under his own name (Blue Swing and Melody
In Swing are his latest CDs for Arbors Records), and with many
respected jazz artists. A partial list includes Doc Cheatham, Scott
Hamilton, Bob Haggart, Rosemary Clooney, Ruby Braff, Joe Bushkin,
Jay McShann, Buck Clayton and Benny Goodman! Dan is especially
proud of his associations with Messrs. Clayton and Goodman, for
each of whom he played lead trombone and was a featured soloist.
In 1996, Dan and his family returned to Southern California. He
has since been nominated for the 1999 Bell Atlantic Jazz Award for "Trombonist
of the Year," and came in on top in a 1999 poll as the Mississippi
Rag readerships "favorite living trombonist!" He
is mentioned with high praise in the new Biographical Encyclopedia
of Jazz (by Ira Gitler and the late Leonard Feather), as well
as the Guinness Whos-Who of Jazz.
Dan currently tours the majority of the time with BED, an ensemble
consisting of long-time friends and musical cohorts Rebecca Becky Kilgore,
Eddie Erickson and Joel Forbes. It is BED that is featured on the
soundtrack of the aforementioned film, The Sleepy Time Gal.
BED continues to gain friends and fans at its numerous appearances
at festivals and jazz parties both in the USA and abroad. In June
of 2006, BED traveled to Tel Aviv, to perform at the Caesarea Jazz
Click below to learn more about Dan's compositions and movie work.