Richard Baratta was born into a musically oriented family in Poughkeepsie, NY in 1950. He began his musical journey at the age 12, playing saxophone, flute and drums, and eventually, exclusively drums. He played mostly jazz all through his teens.
After earning a BA in History from Wagner College in 1973, and after studying with Jack DeJohnette, Bob Moses and Steve Haas he moved to NYC in 1975 to pursue his musical career. From 1975 to 1984 Baratta played gigs and recorded in and out of NYC. Some of his bandmates and associations were with John Stubblefield, Joe Ford, Frank Strozier, Hal Galper, Mike Richmond, Saheb Sarbib, Dennis Irwin, Vernon Reid, Billy Bang, Jack Wilkens, Ryo Kawasaki, Jessica Hagedorn and the Gangster Choir, Guilherme Franco, Pe De Boi, Cyro Baptista, and a very memorable one day hit with Hank Mobley and then Johnny Hartman.
In 1984, Baratta decided to dramatically alter paths, and pursued a career in movie production. “Money was tight, the gigs were hard to come by, and I was getting married and wanted to raise a family. It was just time for a very difficult decision that had to be made. I looked back many times and terribly missed the joy in playing and the camaraderie with the musicians. It was a total about face, but I have no regrets, except missing the live performance.”
Since working on his his first film, Desperately Seeking Susan in 1984, Baratta has worked on over 50 movies, first as a Location Manager, then Unit Production Manager, and for the past 15 years as a Co-Producer and Executive Producer. A small sampling of his filmography includes, Academy Award nominated Joker Joaquin Phoenix winning the Best Actor Award, Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award nominated The Irishman, Dr.Strange, The Wolf of Wall Street, five Spiderman movies,Too Big To Fail, Smurfs, Taking Pelham 123, Across the Universe, Donnie Brasco, Working Girl, and Big.
For a full listing of Baratta’s film credits, visit IMDb:https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0053102/
From December 2016 to the present he has played with Eric Alexander, Vincent Herring, Walter Blanding, Marcus Printup, Bruce Harris, Gerald Cannon, Bill O’Connell, Emmett Cohen, Jeb Patton, Steve Ash, Chris Pattishal, Mike LeDonne, Ray Gallon, Dave Kikoski Danny Nimmer, Jerry Weldon, Rogerio Bocatto, Paul Bollenback, Dave Stryker, Mike Goetz, Essiet Essiet, Yoshi Waki, and many others.
Joining Richard on the bandstand will be:
Bill O’Connell, Craig Handy, Michael Goetz, Paul Rossman
Craig Handy -Sax
Most Americans over 30 know Craig Handy-not by name, but by sound. His was the tenor saxophone that, riding a Junior Walker groove, blew the opening theme of NBC’s The Cosby Show in its sixth and seventh seasons (1989-’91).
Handy holds himself to high standards, and they’ve served him well in his 52 years. The Oakland, Calif., native has led a busy and accomplished career since his 1986 debut in New York, working with the likes of Roy Haynes, Art Blakey, Betty Carter, Herbie Hancock and Dee Dee Bridgewater. He also spent nearly 20 years in the official Mingus repertory ensembles: Mingus Dynasty, the Mingus Big Band and the Mingus Orchestra. The new self-titled album by his band 2nd Line Smith is only Handy’s fifth album as a leader, but its fusion of New Orleans second-line music and organ jazz (“Smith” refers to Jimmy) has garnered significant acclaim-not least from the project’s sidemen. “Every one of us is hoping this band will be successful enough that we can make it our top gig,” says guitarist Matt Chertkoff. “That’s how much we love what Craig has us doing.”
After a 40-year long career that has seen him excel as a leader, soloist, arranger, musical director, and accompanist for some of the most celebrated names in jazz and Latin music, Bill O’Connell can lay claim to a track record of challenging and artistic-diverse triumphs that few of his peers can match.
O’Connell was born in New York City on August 22, 1953. After high school, he studied classical piano at Ohio’s famed Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Returning to New York, he was drawn to and became quickly immersed in the heady Latin jazz and salsa scene that was flowering in the city in the 1970s. His first big break came when he joined Cuban conga player and bandleader Mongo Santamaria’s Latin jazz group in 1977 as keyboardist.
Although he quickly established himself as an in-demand keyboardist and arranger on New York City’s vibrant Latin music circuit, O’Connell didn’t forsake his passion for straight-ahead jazz and chalked up engagements with such hallowed improvisers as Sonny Rollins, Chet Baker, Gato Barbieri and Emily Remler amongst others.
The pianist displayed his versatility by-way-of accompanist roles for several leading jazz vocalists, resulting in four albums with Jon Lucien, two with Janet Lawson, one with Nnenna Freelon and performances backing Kenny Rankin. Gigging with storied bossa nova singer Astrud Gilberto produced a deep understanding of Brazilian music idioms that he often appropriates for his arrangements. All the while, O’Connell continued to polish his Latin chops, performing with such idiom luminaries as trumpeter Jerry González’s Fort Apache Band and trombonist Papo Vázquez.
Paul Rossman – Percussion
Paul Rossman is a drummer and percussionist who plays in many genres including Jazz, Latin Jazz, Smooth Jazz, Folk Rock, and Pop.
As percussionist in Richard Baratta’s Gotham City Latin Jazz Septet, his latest work can be heard on the Savant Records recording, “Music in Film: The Reel Deal” which reached #14 in the world (2021). Paul has recorded and/or played with illustrious jazz artists including guitarist Paul Bollenback, saxophonists Vincent Herring and Eric Alexander, Grammy nominated pianist Dave Kikoski, two-time Grammy nominated organist Pat Bianchi, trumpeters Marcus Printup and Vinnie Cutro, Latin jazz pianist/composer Bill O’Connell, bassist Gerald Cannon, Brazilian percussionist Rogerio Boccato (Grammy ensemble player), drummer Carl Allen, and film producer/jazz drummer Richard Baratta.
Michael Goetz – Bass
Michael Goetz is an established bassist in the New York music industry. Since 1985 Michael has been hired as a sideman for many artists across a wide spectrum.
In the recording field, Michael has performed for many different ensembles and projects. Michael was a staff bass player for Vitamin Records and was featured on the following albums that were released as tribute albums. “Pink Floyd”, “Neil Young”, “To Weezer”, “Marilyn Manson”, “The Dixie Chicks”, “Jimi Hendrix”, “John Mellencamp”, “Enya”, “Celine Dion”, “Metallica”, “REM”, “U2”, “Guns and Roses”, “The Beach Boys Pet Sounds”, “The Darkness”, “The Roots”, “Puddle of Mudd”, “Dr. Dre”, “Duran Duran”, “To Fall Out Boy”, “Kirk Franklin”, “Papa Roach”, “Queens Of The Stoneage”, “Shinedown”, “Dashboard Confessional”, “To Coldplay”, “To Stone Temple Pilots”, and “To Finger Eleven”.
Michael has also spent several years performing and recording for Broadway shows, TV and films. Recordings for featured films: “Femme Fatale” conductor Ryuichi Sakamoto, “Snake Eyes” conductor Ryuichi Sakamoto, “Twilight” conductor Elmer Bernstein. Orchestra musician in New York City on Broadway; “Young Frankenstein”, “The Producers”, “Miss Saigon”, “Sunset Boulevard”, “Les Miserables”, “Crazy for You”, “Ragtime”, “Jekyll and Hyde”, “Once on this Island”, “My Fair Lady”, “Anything Goes”, “Annie”. Lincoln Center Vivian Beaumont theatre production of “Some Americans Aboard”, recorded for Lincoln Center archives. Recordings for jingles, TV shows and commercials; 48 Hours, Glaxo “Mommy and Me”, American Brands, Unilever, Oldsmobile, Faberge Industry.
From Baratta’s lips, “I’m telling you, I’m in heaven. I just want to keep it going. A light bulb has gone off in my head and the music seems clearer, fresher and more illuminating than ever.”Richard Barrata