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New album from vocalist Patrick Barnitt

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    Posted: 08 Jul 2019 at 8:53pm
VOCALIST AND ACTOR PATRICK BARNITT RELEASES
"SWAY"
AN ECLECTIC SET WITH THE PAUL McDONALD BIG BAND
AVAILABLE JULY 5, 2019



SWAY, the second album by Los Angeles vocalist and actor PATRICK BARNITT, is a project comprising swing, pop, and blues tunes, featuring the PAUL McDONALD BIG BAND. Barnitt has a warm, intimate voice, somewhat in the tradition of the Great American Songbook crooners but with a more contemporary edge. The vocals were recorded at Capitol Studios. His first CD, When the Time Is Right (2001), was produced by Howlett "Smitty" Smith and featured the Tamir Hendelman Trio.

Barnitt grew up in New Jersey in a musical family. He credits his early music education to his two older brothers who played music and had an extensive record collection. He began playing sax while in 4th grade and sang and played bass in a rock band when he was 15. Along the way, he also learned piano.

Barnitt continued performing music at the University of Scranton, where he played sax in the school band. He also got the acting bug in school, which eventually took him down a very different career path. After graduating, he headed to New York City, where he worked as an actor in small productions. Like so many young actors, he also supported himself with day jobs. An opera singer heard him sing at a talent show at a restaurant where he worked and encouraged him to further explore his talents.

Barnitt moved to Los Angeles in the early 90s and met Howlett "Smitty" Smith, the pianist, singer, teacher, and L.A. legend. Known for his generous, supportive nature, Smith liked Barnitt's voice and became his teacher and mentor. Smith held court at Bob Burns, a now defunct restaurant that attracted luminaries in the entertainment industry. He often invited Barnitt up to the stage to sing with him and bassist Larry Gales (Thelonious Monk), re-igniting Barnitt's passion for music. Barnitt was soon performing in jazz clubs around the L.A. area.
One of Barnitt's regular gigs has been at the Dresden, a quintessential Hollywood nightclub that's been around since 1954. A swinging hot spot and tourist attraction that has served as a setting in several movies (most notably in Swingers), the duo act of Marty and Elayne has been their house band and major draw for over 35 years. Barnitt has been Marty and Elayne's frequent guest singer for around 25 years, performing before the always packed house and gaining new fans. He also gigs regularly with drumming legend Frank Devito, a member of the famous The Wrecking Crew who has played for Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Elvis and The Beach Boys.

Although Barnitt is a mainstay on the Los Angeles jazz scene, he has found another day job. This time as a working actor. He's appeared in several independent films, including starring roles in the horror films Coffin and Coffin 2, as well many television shows and theater productions. But for many of his fans, he's best known for his numerous appearances on the TV shows Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek Voyager, as well the movie Star Trek: First Contact. You can usually spot him in costume as a Borg (he was featured in the poster for the movie with Patrick Stewart) or as a Klingon. Currently, he appears in The Lost Day with Danny Trejo and Billy Baldwin, now available on Amazon Prime. He will soon be shooting the final chapter in the Coffin series.
 
Having cut his jazz teeth on the Great American Songbook, Barnitt always wanted to do a big band CD. He met Paul McDonald on the scene a few years ago and brought him and his band on board for this project. The Paul McDonald 17-piece big band features some of the top West Coast players and performs regularly around Southern California and Las Vegas to sold-out audiences. SWAY also features a few other first-call, local musicians, including pianist and multi-instrumentalist STEPHAN OBERHOFF, alto sax player RUSTY HIGGINS, trumpeter BIJON WATSON, drummers KENDALL KAY and CELSO ALBERTI, flutist and tenor saxophonist ROBERT KYLE, and Grammy-nominated saxophonist EVERETTE HARP.
Barnitt also sings a couple of duets on SWAY with vocalist and actress LAURA PURSELL. The two of them are old friends and have performed together for years. Their voices blend beautifully on a bossa version of the romantic tune "Quando, Quando, Quando." The song features a lush arrangement by Oberhoff, with sax and flute accompaniment by Kyle. They also do a slow, sexy version of Les McCann's blues tune "The Truth," with Oberhoff playing piano, Hammond B3, guitar, and strings.
 
Barnitt's musical tastes are wide-ranging, and he includes the song "Cascade" by a popular British blue-eyed soul group from the 1980s called Curiosity Killed the Cat. The tune features a get-down sax solo by Grammy-nominated Harp. Barnitt is joined on this track by stellar backup singers MELONEY COLLINS, KENNA RAMSEY, and LAURA DICKINSON.

Barnitt includes two other songs of pop provenance, "Touch Me" by the Doors, and "Does Anybody Know What Time It Is" by the group Chicago. Since the saxophone was Barnitt's first instrument, he's always had an affinity for Chicago records. He also recorded Chicago's "Beginnings" on his first CD. Barnitt gives his due to the Great American Songbook with his versions of "The More I See You," "Please Be Kind," "I've Got You Under My Skin," "Just in Time," and "One For My Baby."

Barnitt has always been fond of "Sway," the title track. It's a bolero-mambo that was first made popular in the U.S. by Dean Martin and has become a standard in both the pop and jazz repertoires. "Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey" is an old chestnut that Barnitt included as an homage to his grandfather, who used the play the song to him on his ukulele. "ACL Blues" is an original composition by Barnitt. A sports fan and an athlete, he tore his ACL playing basketball during rehearsals for the album and went through the slow, painful recovery associated with that injury. The song is a clever fast blues shuffle that he filled with medical/orthopedic terms about overcoming adversity and getting on with your life.
 
Although the tunes on SWAY are a mixed bag of musical genres, Barnitt's classic tenor voice, big band arrangements with top-notch musicianship create a thematic whole that is by turns swinging and romantic.
 

SWAY was released July 5, 2019 and is available in stores and online everywhere.
 
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