“Off the Charts” is the upcoming album by drummer Richard Baratta, which features saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi, pianist David Kikoski, bassist John Patitucci, and percussionist Paul Rossman. Scheduled to be released on August 25th via Savant Records, the album comprises lesser-known tunes by jazz giants such as Bobby Hutcherson, Wayne Shorter, and Charles Lloyd. In this article, we dive deep into the making of “Off the Charts” and Richard Baratta’s journey from film production to jazz drumming.
Richard Baratta, who took a long break from music to work in the film industry, returned to jazz in 2019 with his live album “Comeback.” After signing with Savant Records, Baratta released two albums of movie music, 2020’s “Music in Film: The Reel Deal”, and 2022’s “Music in Film: The Sequel”. These albums showcased one side of Baratta’s musical journey, but with “Off the Charts,” he aims to exhibit that he is not a one-dimensional player.
Collaborating with Jazz Greats
Baratta’s collaborations with musicians like David Kikoski, Jerry Bergonzi, John Patitucci, and Paul Rossman brought a unique energy to this album. He intentionally chose a variety of incredible musicians to demonstrate that he is not limited to playing with the same group of people.
One example of the album’s eclectic nature is the recording of Joe Henderson’s “Afro-Centric,” which was originally written for Herbie Hancock. For this track, Patitucci switched from his usual upright bass to an electric bass, creating a unique sound reminiscent of the Mwandishi band.
The Creative Process
For “Off the Charts,” Baratta wanted to explore lesser-known tunes from the jazz world. These “B-side” tracks, like Hutcherson’s “Herzog,” Shorter’s “Lost,” and Lloyd’s “Sombrero Sam,” have slipped through the cracks of the jazz canon but offer a fresh perspective on these artists’ works.
A Long Time Coming
Although Baratta could have recorded “Off the Charts” earlier in his career, he believes his time in the film industry allowed him to mature both musically and personally. Working as an executive producer taught him valuable business lessons that he now applies to his music career.
Having covered a wide range of music genres on his albums so far, Baratta is continuously looking for new challenges and ways to attract listeners without compromising the essence of the music. As he moves forward, Baratta will continue to listen, keep his ears open, and challenge himself in the ever-evolving world of jazz.