Pianist, accompanist, composer, and producer Bruce Barth’s impact on the jazz scene has been long and fruitful ride for the last 25 years. Barth’s track record has proven that he’s not only become one of the most well respected and demanded players playing on well over one hundred recordings and movie soundtracks, he’s recorded 12 solo projects including his latest: “Bruce Barth Trio: Live at Smalls,” on the Smalls Live Records label. The trio features Rudy Royston on bass and Vicente Archer on bass. Recorded at the famed Smalls Jazz Club in Greenwich Village, this was a project that Bruce wanted to record centering around a trio setting. Also, record on the new label that was founded and spearheaded by visionary Spike Wilner.
What I enjoy most on Bruce’s latest outing is that he reaches out and plays some innovative and fresh compositions. Also, the new record takes me back to those great trio recordings of past with artists like Ahmad Jamal, Ramsey Lewis, and Oscar Peterson, whose emphasis was placed on the entire trio verses the soloist. His trio is killer and both Rudy and Vicente add new life and vigor to Bruce’s music.
Bruce hails from Pasadena, California and began playing piano at age five. He picked up playing by ear early during his career and found it a major progression in his learning and playing style. Throughout has teens he studied privately but it was his older brother who turned him on to pianist/vocalist Mose Allison that really sparked his interest in jazz music.
Upon graduating from high school he was accepted to the New England Conservatory where he had the privilege of studying and mentoring with the legendary Jaki Byard, George Russell, and Fred Hersch. When he finished college, he moved to New York where he continued his education musically playing with the likes of Nancy Wilson, Freddie Hubbard, Nat Adderley, Stanley Turrentine, James Moody, Grady Tate, and Slide Hampton.
Today Bruce continues to play in many groups including his trio, the Bruce Barth Septet, the Steve Wilson Quartet, the Terell Stafford Quintet, and accompanies Luciana Souza and Karrin Allyson.
Bruce is currently about to hit the road in support of his latest disc. To find out upcoming club dates or to order “Bruce Barth Trio: Live at Smalls,” visit him on the web at brucebarth.com.
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