For this project, Barnett drew on the long tradition of jazz quartets and their two categories of instrumentation:
Single horn or voice + rhythm section (i.e. John Coltrane Quartet)
Two horns + bass and drums (i.e. Gerry Mulligan/Chet Baker Quartet, Ornette Coleman Quartet)
These two permutations each offered particular opportunities and challenges for Barnett as arranger/composer. The single horn + guitar, bass, drums quartet offers more chordal possibilities. Pieces such as “For Now” and “On the Zone” are harmonically driven and generally homophonic in texture (melody with accompaniment).
The two horn + bass and drums quartet lends itself to contrapuntal writing, with the trumpet and saxophone able to play two independent lines over the bass. “The Other Side” exemplifies this type of writing. The challenge for this instrumentation is to invoke a sense of harmonic fullness, with only three pitches at any time, “For Kenny” (dedicated to the late British flugelhornist/composer Kenny Wheeler) is a beautiful example.
To drive home the distinction between the two quartets, Barnett recorded the blues “2 For One” with both groups.
Taylor Barnett is a musician based in Richmond, VA. He is an Assistant Professor of Music at Virginia Commonwealth University and is a member of No BS! Brass, SOLVER, Sazli Çazli, as well as the leader of his own quartet.
Taylor has performed as a trumpet soloist at the Monterey Jazz Festival, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Eaux Claires Fest, Festival d'été de Québec, Festival of New Trumpet Music, and on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert as well as with artists such as Bon Iver, Woody Herman Orchestra, Dave Douglas, Gladys Knight, The Temptations, and Frankie Avalon.
As a composer/arranger, Taylor’s work is published by UNC Jazz Press and has been commissioned by the Richmond Symphony and artists such as Darryl Harper and Rex Richardson. His large-ensemble arrangements have been performed at international music festivals in Australia, Portugal, China, and all across the U.S.