dB-ISH: The Path To Our Truth and Funk/Jazz Album the Get Down 4 Real: Step Step Steppin’ Releasing Simultaneously July 12

“Rangy collection of electrified original tunes.”
–New York Times

“Jazz’s future may very well sound like this… Barrett is an artist of boundless soul… he’s willing to push his musical identity toward new horizons.”
-DownBeat Magazine

–All Music

“Exhilarating” (Jazziz) composer/trumpet player/multi-instrumentalist Darren Barrett is in the midst of a surge of boundless creativity. His dB Studios today released “The Path To Our Truth,” the first single from dB-ish: The Path To Our Truth, via his own dB Studios. Using two Eventide H9 multi-effect pedals and an Eventide Micropitch Delay wired into his PiezoBarrel pickup and a band equipped with synths and a Mellotron as well as acoustic instruments, Barrett pushes the envelope with the dB-ish project, a synthesis of grooves, bop, and free jazz, of electronic and acoustic instruments. Stereogum and the New York Times have previously spotlighted the experimental dB-ish project.


“Sometimes we’ll be playing a tune that explodes into this totally different world of freedom,” he recounts, excitedly, adding, “I don’t consider myself a free player but I consider myself a musician who loves to explore genres and the universe of music. I hear the vibe of what’s happening. I have my pedalboard and I’m just exploring.”

Barrett – who played on Esperanza Spalding’s GRAMMY Award-winning album Radio Music Society – confirmed the release of two albums simultaneously on July 12: The Get Down 4 Real: Step Step Steppin’; and dB-ish: The Path To Our Truth, the former of which is a funk/jazz album inspired by James Brown and the J.B.’s drum backbeats.

Picking up where Bitches Brew, Return To Forever, and Weather Report’s self-titled debut left off, dB-ish: The Path To Our Truth, his second album for this project, finds him leading the group to new places and soundscapes with his trumpet, abstraction with liquid playing. On the group’s previous foray into experimental jazz fusion, he employed hip-hop and hard bop as root elements. Here, he uses those forms sparingly, sometimes embracing the soulful slow build of D’Angelo, one of numerous stars with whom he has played.

Barrett’s original compositions have an airiness and openness not frequently encountered in this genre. That’s as when the trumpeter hovers over the darkest tonalities such as when his muted playing mixes with Mellotron sounds on “Keep Your Ears Open.” Chick Corea’s dashing, room-warming chords on Fender Rhodes find new life in the playing of keyboardists Santiago Bosch and Warren Pettey on tunes including the expansive title cut. Powered by drummer Julian Miltenberger’s rock steady, wood-on-wood strokes, The Path to Our Truth is richly textured with sonic exploration on “Walking in Driftwood.” There’s also a remarkable series of exchanges on that tune with such an uncanny vocal quality, you feel like you’re eavesdropping on a fascinating conversation. Barrett saves his most lyrical, Miles-inspired playing and “Silent Way”-style musings for the final track, “As We Seek For the Sun Together.” Bass virtuoso Youngchae Jeong’s interplay with the band on “Follow Me In the Search Of,” which shifts from free floating to groove-based, is especially stunning. It’s music that, concerns about the world notwithstanding, makes the future look and feel bright.

Barrett has built a substantial following on social media, totaling over 75,000 followers across platforms. His Instagram account, @darrendbee, has 57.7k followers. His YouTube account is a deep dive into the musical territory of dB-ish and beyond, entitled All Things Brass and Technology.

The 2024 albums mark his twenty-fifth anniversary as a recording leader. Forthcoming albums are planned under different project names: Straight Down the Middle (modern jazz), Time For Romance (ballads), Trumpet Vibes (reggae/jazz mix), the EVI Sessions (the electronic valve instrument), with other projects, including future dB-ish albums themed to micro-tonality, reggae-dub, ‘90s hip-hop, and Afrobeat. Last year, he released the straight-ahead jazz album Live And Direct: Blue Harbor in August and the electronic, experimental All Things Brass and Technology in December.

Releasing simultaneously with dB-ish: The Path To Our Truth on July 12, The Get Down 4 Real: Step Step Steppin’s would make the J.B.’s proud. “The Clav Is In Order” conjures Stevie. “Step Step Steppin’” would be at home projecting out across a large jazz festival. “DSYWJ” starts from Bill Withers territory and extrapolates from there. “We Out No Doubt,” finds Barrett informed by hip hop sounds. The album features an incredible support cast: keyboardist Santiago Bosch (Donald Harrison, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Esperanza Spalding); Warren Pettey, who has performed at Newport Jazz Festival, on keys; guitar master Jeffrey Lockhart (Beyoncé, Dido); Clara Moser, who has been featured by Bass Musician Magazine, along with Youngchae Jeong and Paul Reinhold on bass; drummer Julian Miltenberger; and Judy Soberanes on percussion on “Flow Against the Flow.” Last month, Barrett shared the first single and title track from the project.

Barrett has had an incredible career. He’s studied with Donald Byrd and performed or recorded with Wayne Shorter, Kenny Garrett, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Elvin Jones, Jackie McLean, Herbie Hancock, Roy Hargrove Big Band, Common, will.i.am, Tabou Combo, D’Angelo, Queen Latifah, The Baylor Project, and Antonio Hart. His first album as a leader, First One Up, which All Music called “vibrant,” came twenty-five years ago. He is a professor at Berklee College of Music.

dB-ish: The Path To Our Truth Track Listing
The Path To Our Truth
Keep Your Ears Open
Walking In Driftwood
Follow Me In the Search Of
As We Seek For The Sun Together

The Get Down 4 Real: Step Step Steppin’ Track Listing
The Get Down 4 Real
The Clav Is In Order
Flow Against the Flow
Step Step Steppin’
We Out No Doubt