Former Atlantan Eddie Barbash has emerged as probably the most vibrant, dynamic and in-demand alto saxophonists working in fashionable jazz.
A founding member of pianist John Batiste’s Keep Human, the home band for the Late Present with Stephen Colbert, Barbash has since amassed a resume that radiates accomplishment: stints with Lenny Kravitz, Wynton Marsalis and Yo-Yo Ma are excessive factors.
It might be straightforward for a person of Barbash’s caliber to adorn himself within the laurel wreaths of ego mania, however in dialog he reveals himself to be a charitable purveyor of the quiet cool that one expects from the laid-back masters of the jazz pantheon.
Barbash sat down with ArtsATL prematurely of his homecoming live performance Thursday with the KASA Quartet on the Breman Jewish Heritage Museum, introduced in partnership with Neranenah (previously the Atlanta Jewish Music Competition). The night will spotlight Barbash’s ardour for the music loved by the Biggest Technology. His most up-to-date album, For Murray and Lillian, is a tribute to his late grandparents and the music they liked.
ArtsATL: Your current album For Murray and Lillian is a collaboration with arranger Kyle Athayde. Inform us about that course of.
Eddie Barbash: Kyle is a genius. Plenty of my favourite music was created collaboratively. When you may have the humility to not attempt to do all of it your self, you find yourself with one thing significantly better than you may make by yourself. My favourite instance is Motown studios — they might have these unimaginable arrangers, songwriters, producers and performers all working collectively to make these actually huge elaborate, lush productions. Everyone places their finest foot ahead, doing the factor that they do finest.
I had a variety of expertise with this music so we have been in a position to enter the studio and observe all of it dwell. We did it in a single room to a tape machine known as a Tascam 388. It’s a quarter-inch tape machine with solely eight tracks. We did eight microphones, multi function room, and fed the audio into digital software program and combined it.
ArtsATL: Take us into your early academic background in Atlanta and the way you began taking part in sax.
Barbash: I went to Atlanta public faculties. After I was within the faculty system, they began you in band within the third grade. You possibly can be in band, choir or handbell choir. I really was most within the handbell choir due to the way in which the music is put collectively — every individual solely has one or two bells, so every individual solely has one or two notes. I made a decision that the handbell choir was cool however you actually couldn’t do it by your self. It was a ineffective talent to study. I made a decision that band would make extra sense.
By the point I made a decision to be in band, the 2 devices I used to be most occupied with taking part in — trumpet and drums — have been all crammed up. I used to be wanting on the posters with all of the devices on the wall and I noticed a poster with all of the saxophones on it. I assumed it seemed actually loopy. So I made a decision I used to be going to play saxophone as a result of it seemed actually cool and peculiar. After a couple of months to a yr of being in band the director began to acknowledge that I had some expertise and began giving me little solos to play. The primary one I keep in mind was really “Blueberry Hill,” which I play with my string group.
I used to be in Atlanta public faculties till I completed my sophomore yr of highschool. Then I moved to North Carolina and went to North Carolina Faculty of the Arts. It’s a university and a highschool mixed. From there I went to Juilliard for two-and-a-half years after which I transferred to the New Faculty.
ArtsATL: How did you transition that into getting extra closely into jazz? Who’re your early influences?
Barbash: I wasn’t actually enthusiastic about jazz to start with. However within the U.S. if you happen to’re good at a horn you get funneled into jazz as a result of the superior band is at all times some kind of jazz band. So I began within the fifth grade; I used to be capable of play within the neighboring center faculty’s jazz band. That was my introduction to jazz.
I simply acquired deeper and deeper into jazz as a result of that was the route I used to be being steered. It wasn’t till I used to be in my 20s that I began to determine what music I actually appreciated. I found bluegrass and a variety of the American roots music stuff and the pop jazz singers of the 40s — the Bing Crosbys and the Jo Staffords. That type of stuff. And studying about earlier types of jazz like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Benny Carter. I noticed that every one of that resonated with me much more than bebop and onerous bop.
ArtsATL: You bought your huge break as a member of Keep Human with John Batiste and appeared with the band on the Late Present With Stephen Colbert. Inform us about that and why you in the end moved on.
Barbash: My first gig after I acquired to New York was with John Batiste. I met him at Julliard. He began calling me for gigs fairly early on. The individuals he was taking part in with have been a lot extra skilled than me, and I felt fortunate simply to be tagging alongside. We had an extended journey — ten years of taking part in collectively — which culminated in us getting employed to be the band for the Late Present.
It was a tremendous expertise, nevertheless it was so time-consuming and it wasn’t that artistically fulfilling. I wasn’t making music that I felt good about. So I stop after a year-and-a-half and transitioned into taking part in with a variety of different bands. I’m actually glad I did as a result of now I get to do a variety of cool stuff, touring and taking part in with all these completely different individuals I by no means would have if I’d simply stayed on that gig.
ArtsATL: Your present on the Breman Museum is a homecoming of kinds. What makes it vital for you?
Barbash: Atlanta is the place I spent my youth — virtually my whole childhood — and I actually haven’t been again very many instances. I’ve been there to play a couple of instances with different artists however by no means to do my very own factor. In order that’s actually thrilling and to have all these individuals from my childhood that I do know are going to be there — lecturers who’re actually vital to me — are going to have the ability to hear me do what I do finest.
Jordan Owen started writing about music professionally on the age of 16 in Oxford, Mississippi. A 2006 graduate of the Berklee School of Music, he’s an expert guitarist, bandleader and composer. He’s at present the lead guitarist for the jazz group Different Strangers, the ability metallic band Axis of Empires and the melodic loss of life/thrash metallic band Century Spawn.