Artt Frank

Artt Frank

Bop Drumming Legend

"Artt Frank is my all-time favorite drummer. He always seems to know where I'm going."

-- Chet Baker

"In my estimation, other then Charlie Parker, Chet was the greatest lyrical player of all time. And like 'Bird', Chet could say more in a four-bar phrase than any one I've ever heard!"

-- Artt Frank

Style | Philosophy | Future Plans | Discography | Quotes and Comments | Web Links | Sound Samples


Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) February 20, 2014

Jazz Hall of Fame Drummer’s Memoir Captures Missing Years With Trumpeter Chet Baker

Independent publisher, BooksEndependent, LLC today announced the release of the personal, never before told story of “Chet Baker: The Missing Years, A Memoir by Artt Frank,” available in both trade paperback and Kindle Edition eBook. Foreword by Bobby Shew.

Artt's book is now available through

"A must-read for everyone from the casual jazz fan to the serious student of jazz history. - JB Dyas, PhD, VP, Education and Curriculum Development, Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz"

Artt is an inductee to the Jazz Hall of Fame! Please read the acceptance letter.

"Artt Frank is one of the most consistently decent and creative people I have ever met. He is legendary in his humanity. It is thrilling that he is being inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame and my family and I are simply over the moon that this is happening for him."

-- Internationally Acclaimed Actress, Sharon Stone

Hall of Fame Bop drummer/composer/lyricist/vocalist Artt Frank was born in the small paper mill town of Westbrook, Maine on March 9, 1933, and is best known for his long-term association with trumpet immortal Chet Baker, with whom he worked on and off for 14 years. Artt has also been associated with an impressive list of jazz luminaries over the past sixty years including the great Charlie Parker, Tadd Dameron, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt, Miles Davis, Bud Powell, singer Billie Holiday and many others. Artt is also an ex-professional fighter.

ARTT FRANK, bop drummer/composer, is part of a dying breed -one of the few authentic bop musicians on the scene today. He is best known for his long term association with Chet Baker, with whom Artt worked on and off for 14 years. He has also worked with Jimmy Heath, Al Cohn, Ted Curson, Sonny Stitt, Phil Moore and many others, including one memorable night with Billie Holiday. He has also sat in on several occasions with Charlie Parker, Lee Morgan, Tadd Dameron, Dexter Gordon and Bud Powell. Artt is 100% ear player who plays from the seat of his pants. He listens intently to his band mates and responds with lightning quickness, utilizing appropriate shading and perfect placement. His dynamics, especially on brushes, are most engaging. He really generates both spark and fire. When he uses sticks, you know immediately that he's a pure bebop drummer whose roots run deep. And he locks in the time by bearing down forcefully on his hi-hat on the after beat, which produces the sensation of continued forward propulsion. On occasion he'll throw in unpredictable, yet perfectly placed bass drum bombs against the ride cymbal- then shifts seamlessly to left hand accents on the snare. His four limbs are seemingly independent and yet the effect is like an unbroken chain of movement that both supports and fashions itself around the soloist.


"Since I play a hundred percent by ear, I respond pretty much to what is going on around me. I know who I am, whom I've played with, and what I have come through, so it isn't like I have to sit down behind a set of drums and let the other musicians hear how I play. They know from the very first hit on the snare that I am authentic be-bop.

"The conditions I grew up in, the musicians, the clubs, the owners, they don't exist any more. I am part of a dying breed. All those wonderful cats I used to play with are gone, but they're still very much alive in my heart and when I'm sitting alone in my room thinking about those good old times, I can actually hear Bird, Tadd, Dexter, Bud and Chet. Yeah man, the mind is a beautiful place.

"I have had no formal musical training to build on, which in a sense limits what I can do musically. I learned to draw a circle around my limitations and became the master of that circle, and I never think of what I'm going to play, or where I'm going to place a beat or an accent or drop a bass drum bomb. It just happens, it's what Charlie Parker called placement. That's what he said I had naturally, good time and natural placement.

"Drummers of today have arsenals of technique and fantastic chops. Just about every one of them are monsters. But technique, however astonishing it may be, is meaningless unless you can tell your own personal story, like Bird said: "Man, if you ain't lived it you can't really play it". Techniques and chops are essential, but if these are not applied in the proper place within the framework of a given tune, it will upset the time and rhythm and throw everything off kilter. Drummers should develop their ears and learn to be more sympathetic and supportive toward the soloist. Time, rhythm, and placement are the most essential tools in bop drumming. As to my approach, I play just on the backside of the beat giving the time that special laid back sensation of push and pull, no matter what the tempo may be. Bop drumming is unique because it has its own personal identity. It cannot be mistaken for swing, Dixieland, free or fusion. Bebop is more than just a style of jazz. It's a feeling and sound from a moment in time that no longer exists, except on recordings. This is the era from which I came.

"Whenever I play -- in a nightclub, concert hall, museum, or recording studio; whether I'm playing my own compositions or those of the greats of the past -- I always seek to bring out what I refer to as the three P's: pain, pathos, and poignancy. I tell musicians, when you find these... you've found the heart, body and soul of the composition; the very essence of life. That's what it's really all about. The immortals of bop; Bird, Miles, Tadd, Monk, Dex, Bud, Ritchie, Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt, Lee, Fats, Chet and the other pioneers; all of them had these three P's within their daily lives -- and that is what made their sound so warm and lyrically great. They lived what they played!"

"The Artt Of Wistful Jazz"

(Reflections On Artt Frank)

"In a day and age when music truly stirring and innovative are rare or nonexistent realities, it is inspiring to hear what all-star bop drummer Artt Frank can contribute to the jazz ensemble and its history. Refreshing and inspiring hardly begin to explain the enriching portrait that Artt predominately creates. Both his solos and steady brushwork are in fact flawless and beguiling. Clear, precise and steady, Artt makes the voice of his drums range in tones from a whisper to bursts of emotional rainbows.

"The drums are rarely, if ever, thought of as both a percussion and melodic instrument, but in the hands of Artt Frank who so deftly and magically arches pathways between all the instruments, his drums become both. Artt's innate sense of melody add to the swinging and subtle poetry creating shadows and light with his brushstrokes across the musical canvas. Enhancing the pulsating heartbeat of a song undulating with breath, rhythm and infectious tonality, Artt's assured, swift and delving hands never cease to amaze the true jazz aficionado.

"Artt Frank is a musician steeped in midnight balladry and deep nights' bursting life rhythms. Through his instrument one can feel his wild, impeccably-tuned imagination which is so drenced in his GOD-given "feel" for jazz (be-bop). Listen carefully and you will hear the same master craftsman who so beautifully and ably provided the expressive foundation for the great Chet Baker's fluglehorn and trumpet during their years together. Artt Frank truly adds further intensity to the heartchords that begin to resonate in your soul, whether he swings lightly with great skill or creates tone poems during the interplay of a sensitive ballad. In the uniuque hands of Artt Frank drums and musical reality assumes new meaning.

"Artt is as much at home playing intricate triplets, straight-ahead 4/4 bop, exploring a jazz samba, leaning into half-time or immersing himself and your heart in the haunting refrains of a lovely jazz ballad. Time signatures have never been a problem for Artt for he has the key tucked away in his soul. In fact, his drumwork is never overpowering but rather can be razor sharp to illuminate the other instruments or can caress the other soloists to sensually deepen the warmth of the composition. I have followed the music of Artt Frank and Chet Baker and their all-star jazz bands for many, many years (in person). And I know that Artt is one of those gifted and RARE drummers who, while improvising a solo, can firmly hold the essential rhythm in place with his use of sticks or brush strokes that add not only drive to the tune, but color, texture and depth of tonality, infusing the song with continual new life. This is what it means to truly be an artist." -- Written by Tony Mattiaccio, April 28, 2003


"My whole philosopy of music is to build a spiritual unity in sound. If an audience becomes a part of that unity, if only for a few minutes, then I have accomplished what I have set out to do. This is my way of sharing with others all the wonderful gifts that GOD has bestowed upon me. In my compositions, this unity is expressed through lyricism. A melody that can be understood, felt and shared is a very powerful thing as is the sharing that we show in love for one another - a spiritual unity coming down from, and ascending up to the FATHER of LIGHTS who gives it continuously when you ask."

Future Plans

"Only God knows what my future holds. I want to continue to compose meaningful music, such as haunting ballads, jazz waltz, sambas, and God willing I shall. I also hope to record more CD's and do live jazz concerts, as well as to help budding jazz musicians with promise to gain important exposure, and to the best of my ability love everyone, as YESHUA commanded, and to be there for any one who may need me."


The Artt Frank Jazz Ensemble -- "In The Moment", 2004

This swinging CD was recorded in early Spring 2004 and introduces seven new original compositions by Artt and co-composer Graham Bruce.

Artt Frank, drums; Harold Danko, piano; Phil Bowler, bass; Graham Bruce, trumpet / flugelhorn; Ken Barry, tenor sax; Matt Criscuolo, alto sax; with guest artists Tony Lombardozzi, guitar; vocalists Giacomo Gates and Yvonne Kauffman; and Earla Porch.

The music on this CD is straight ahead authentic bop. "The whole concept behind this," according to Artt, "was to recapture the long, lost sound and personal intimacy of playing in the small cramped nightclubs of the late '40's and early '50's around New York City, and bring it to lilfe on recording. To do that, I had to find a smalll studio with good acoustics, and which had no isolated booths or baffles. I found such a place but there were drawbacks. The studio didn't have a piano. I wanted that special ambiance, so I had an upright piano brought in and had it placed in the center of the room and had each musician stand close beside it, with the bass and drums just a few feet away. We didn't rehearse the tunes because I wanted everything to be spontaneous -- as it would be in a club setting. I kicked off each tune and these cats just smoked! Every tune was done in a single take except for the Matt Criscuolo composition, 'Julian,' which was done in the second take.

"Listening to the playback, I was absolutely pleased with the musicianship and the results. I achieved what I wanted... that warm-up-close and personal sound of being in a small New York City jazz club of the past, and playing, In The Moment!"

Though he cannot read a single note of music, Artt has composed nearly 50 beautiful songs beginning with a jazz waltz called "Waltz For Sharon Stone," which is now a popular CD. When asked how he was able to accomplish this without his having any knowledge of how to read music, he replied that he believed it was because of his deep love and faith in almighty GOD and YESHUA (Jesus) that he was given the wonderful gift to create beautifullly haunting melodies. "There is just no other answer," he said.

Artt went on to say that he composes music by humming the melody into a recorder, then sends it to his pianist friends and co-composers, Charles Loos, Nic Bariluk, Graham Bruce, Harold Danko, Matt Criscuolo, Phil Urso, Ken Barry, and most recently, Rob Boone. Artt's melodies fall into the category of romantic jazz, and a number of them would be ideal for motion picture soundtrack themes. He feels very strongly that he was put on earth to play drums and to write beautiful romantic music. And, God willing, he will.



Always Together (ballad) Artt Frank / Graham Bruce

Arttwork (bop) Artt Frank / Nic Bariluk

A Few Bucks Ahead (bop) Artt Frank / Nic Bariluk

Afterglow Of Love (ballad) Artt and Lisa Frank / Graham 


Ali (ballad) Lisa and Artt Frank / Charles Loos

Brothers (ballad) Artt and Lisa Frank / Graham Bruce

Bru's Waltz (jazz waltz) Artt Frank / Rob Boone

Brosamba (samba) Artt Frank / Graham Bruce

Carol Ann (ballad) Artt Frank / Graham Bruce

Casa de Cisne (House of Swan) (the marriage samba) Artt Frank / 
Graham Bruce
Christmastime All Year (romantic Christmas ballad) Artt Frank / Nic Bariluk / Tony Purrone Dave and Iola (ballad) Artt Frank / Rob Boone Does It Matter (ballad) Artt Frank / Harold Danko Don't Cry When You Lose (ballad) Artt Frank / Earla Frank 18th and Vine (bop) Artt Frank / Chris Clarke Eyes Of A Child (ballad) Lisa and Artt Frank / Graham Bruce For Pete's Sake (bop) Artt Frank / Rob Boone Great Scott (calypso) Artt and Lisa Frank / Graham Bruce It's Over Now (ballad) Artt Frank / Earla Frank Jack and Lucille (romantic jazz waltz) Artt Frank / Matt Criscuolo
Jim's Song (bop) Artt Frank / Warren Chiasson
Kathy's Groove (samba) Artt Frank / Graham Bruce Kelly's Hope (ballad) Artt Frank / Graham Bruce Keeping Bebop Alive (bop) Artt Frank / Nic Bariluk Leah's Waltz (jazz waltz) Artt Frank / Graham Bruce Lisa Lea (jazz waltz) Artt Frank / Nic Bariluk Liebway (Bop) Artt Frank / Phil Urso / Graham Bruce Lonely Walk -- Memories of Chet (sad ballad) Artt Frank / Graham Bruce Love and Spaghetti (jazz waltz) Artt Frank / Nic Bariluk Lullaby for Roan (classical) Artt Frank / Matt Criscuolo Most of All (bop) Artt Frank / Rob Boone Nenette (jazz waltz) Artt Frank / Ken Barry On The Heath (bop) Artt Frank / Graham Bruce
Refuge (sad ballad) Artt Frank / Joe Cartwright Rhonda Joy (jazz waltz) Artt Frank / Graham Bruce Rob and The Cradle (bop) Artt Frank / Rob Boone
Samba En Volandros ("Samba In The Air") Artt Frank / Graham Bruce Samba Jan (samba) Artt Frank / Graham Bruce Sam Is The Most (bop) Artt Frank / Rob Boone Saundering (samba / bossa) Artt Frank / Graham Bruce Song For My Mother (sad ballad) Artt Frank / Nic Bariluk Seventh Day (ballad) Artt Frank / Nic Bariluk Shirley (ballad) Artt Frank / Nic Bariluk Sisters (jazz waltz) Artt Frank / Nic Bariluk Sonny And Lucille (samba) Artt Frank / Rob Boone
Sonnyside Up (bop) Artt Frank / Rob Boone
Souvenir (sad ballad) Artt Frank / Graham Bruce That's Matt (bop) Artt Frank / Graham Bruce The Scene's McLean (bop) Artt Frank / Graham Bruce
Waitin' For Clayton (bop) Artt Frank / Ken Barry Waltz For Bert (jazz waltz) Artt Frank / Graham Bruce Waltz For Sharon Stone (jazz waltz) Artt and Lisa Frank / Charles Loos Winter In July (bossa nova) Artt and Lisa Frank / Nic Bariluk

That Trio Thing -- Released in 2003 by MJA Records

Joe Cartwright, piano; Steve Rigazzi, bass; Artt Frank, drums

This CD was recorded on two separate occasions in Overland Park, Kansas, by tenor saxophonist / engineer Ken Barry, in the early summer of 2001, and completed in the late spring of 2002, when Artt returned to the area.

Three new tunes are introduced: "Refuge," a haunting ballad that reflects on the tragedy of 9/11, written by Artt and Joe; "Brosamba," a dark samba, by Artt and trumpeter Graham Bruce; and "Unit VI," by Joe for his son.

JOE CARTWRIGHT on the making of the CD: "This unique trio CD was recorded in a small piano recital hall as opposed to a recording studio. There was very little preparation and no rehearsal whatsoever. The sessions were very relaxed and loose, no pressure. This method of recording really emphasizes spontaneity and empathy. This is truly the essence of jazz.

"Artt's drum concept for this recording was to use brushes exclusively. It is rare to find a drummer that has such a wide range of colors and shading in his dynamic palette. Artt creates a masterpiece each time he paints with his brushes. He accomplishes this while swinging intensely. Artt, you are a master."

STEVE RIGAZZI on the making of the CD: "Artt's suggestion for this CD was to record, as he put it, 'without the use of a net.' Artt wanted us to do it virtually unrehearsed and completely fresh, which is exactly what we did. The interaction between the players; the dynamics and execution is what makes this recording unique. Artt speaks volumes with every swish of his brushes. Man, he can make a rusty gate swing!"

ARTT FRANK on the making of the CD: "Over the last fifty or so years I've been a part of some of the greatest rhythm sections ever formed and I must tell you, working with Joe Cartwright and Steve Rigazzi, is as good as it gets! The interplay between each of us.... The dynamics, rhythm, the point / counterpoint and shading -- it was uncanny, like we'd been together for years, instead of two nights, nine months apart. I sent my old friend, Dave Brubeck, a copy of the rough mix and he really liked it. He even wrote something about Joe and Steve. He felt they were very gifted musicians. You know what? I do too!"

The Artt Frank Quartet Live at the Aldrich Museum, Sweetheart Records, recorded in 1998.

Artt Frank, drums; Harold Danko, piano; Cameron Brown, bass and Rich Perry, tenor sax.

This concert marked the historical reunion of three world class jazz musicians who hadn't played together in twenty-three years since working together with Chet Baker. Artt Frank, Harold Danko and Cameron Brown -- by Chet's own admission, the most potent rhythm section he had ever worked with.

History is made when unusual and extraordinary events take place, as was the case on the night of June 13, 1997 at the Aldrich Museum in Ridgefield, CT, when four master artists of jazz went up on the band stand to perform. Led by legendary bop drummer, Artt Frank, the group drew an SRO audience. Suzanne Ryan, music director of the Aldrich Museum, was ecstatic: "I've never seen anything like it. We were completely sold out and streams of people kept coming. They were in the lobby, on the terrace, and out in the parking lot. They wouldn't leave, even though it was raining out. They stayed to hear what they could."

This concert marked the historical reunion of three world class jazz musicians who hadn't played together in 23 years since they were working with Chet Baker. Artt Frank, Harold Danko and Cameron Brown were, by Chet's admission, the most potent rhythm section he'd ever worked with.

The following quotes were made by Chet Baker, during an interview I conducted with him at Stryker's Pub in NYC in 1974: "Artt's been with me since my comeback in Hollywood in 1968. I love the way he plays, man. 'Specially the way he plays brushes. Shelly (Manne) was great too... but he didn't have Artt's transmission... you know... ? Artt's the only cat I know who can play brushes at stick level, and at any tempo! Then there's Harold (Danko), and Cameron (Brown), and those three cats are the most swingin', sensitive and supportive players I've ever worked with. And for the way I play here (Stryker's pub), in a club format, I like to stretch out and do a lot of burnin' tempos. And it's a great comfort to know those three cats are always there. They make it easy for me to respond. It's real comfortable man, you know....?"

Though Chet wasn't present on this night, we had in Rich Perry that eloquent lyricism that was so prevalent in Chet's playing, resident in Rich's performance.

What you, the listener, will hear, is the pure sound of Jazz... mistakes included... exactly as it was performed... a vibrant, living sound which places the listener right there in the audience and on the bandstand with us.

The gifted and award winning pianist, Harold Danko, is one of very few who can successfully combine strength and delicacy in his approach to the piano. His conceptions are drawn from a deep well of creativity. Experimenting with time, chordal structures and rhythmic interplay, Harold always surprises and entrances his audience, as this recording so well attests.

The robust tone of Cameron Brown on bass completes this happening rhythm section. Cameron is one of the most prodigiously skilled and inventive bass players in the history of jazz. And certainly the most expressive bassist on the scene today. Listening to Cameron, Harold and Artt play, you think of an intricate ballet -- that's how tight their time, rhythm and ideas are. Their counterpoint and use of dynamics is electrifying and magical.

Complementing the rhythm section is the swingin', understated soul of Rich Perry on tenor sax. He composes lines of sheer beauty every time he picks up his horn and plays. Playing way behind the beat, Rich displays his technical mastery and introspective nature as he digs deep into each tune and adds a rounded, abstract quality to music. Artt Frank calls Rich Perry the most thought provoking tenor sax player in the world today. I agree. I then asked Artt who his favorite tenor players were, and he cited Sonny Rollins as first of his four all time personal favorite tenor players... with Dexter Gordon, Phil Urso, and Rich Perry being the other three. Making his way into Artt's all-time number five spot is son-in-law, Ken Barry... a young thirty-five-year old player who plays with the lyricism and melodicism of the aforementioned legends. Ken can be heard on Artt's last three CD projects. "Souvenir," "Artt Frank Live At The Aldrich II," and the new soon-to-be-released "Artt Frank Jazz Ensemble: In The Moment."

Matt Criscuolo, the 25 year old guest alto saxophonist whom Artt called up to play, confessed to having butterflies over the prospect of playing with, as he put it, "those heavy hitters." He turned out to be a good foil for Rich Perry, with his biting tone and edgy approach Matt is heard on "Line for Lyons", and "Tidal Breeze".

I asked the talented young saxophonist, Matt Criscuolo, a few questions after the concert. He told me about the guidance and encouragement Artt had given him as a player. He is quick to point out that Artt has helped him immensely with his phrasing and speaks of him in glowing terms. "Artt is the most giving man I know. He's taken a lot of time to get personally involved with me and other younger players. If you asked me to describe Artt in one word. I couldn't. I'd have to use two - Love and Giving. And with Artt, the two are one." Listen, and you can hear it come out in the music. I sure did. -- Pete Colby

Pat Morrissey / Artt Frank: Souvenir, released in 1999, MJA Records label

This CD was recorded in early 1999, and features some of Artt's original compositions along with new arrangements of standards that were favorites of Chet Baker.

Pat Morrissey, who has recently passed away and will be deeply missed by his friends, relatives, and fans, plays trumpet, along with Ken Barry on tenor sax and flute, his wife Kathy Frank playing drums on one selection, pianist Harold Danko, and bassist Phil Bowler: Harold, Phil, and Artt were one of Chet's favorite rhythm sections to work with.

Artt Frank notes, "Ken's playing is so reminiscent of Chet Baker, even though Chet played trumpet and flugelhorn, the similarity in their playing is astounding when you consider that Chet always played with simplicity, yet with so much great lyricism -- and he blew the greatest long tones of anyone in jazz history. When listening to Chet and Ken's playing, you seem to be carried constantly upward, as an eagle soars on a thermal draft. Chet, I feel, would have absolutely loved to have played in ensemble with Kenny because Chet always loved to have someone of equal lyrical ability to play counterpoint with. As an example, listen to Kenny's poignant lines on my Souvenir."

Artt Frank presents Chris Clarke -- "From The Heart", MJA RECORDS -- Recorded in Kansas City, Mo. in 2000

This CD presents Artt's latest discovery -- jazz pianist Chris Clarke, and also showcases several wonderfully talented Kansas City musicians as well.

Tim Perryman, trombone; Gerald Dunn, alto sax; Josh Sclar, tenor sax; the late great Pat Morrissey, trumpet; James Ward and Tyrone Clark, bass; Donivan Bailey, Mike Warren, and Artt Frank, drums; Tommy Stewart, percussion; and mainstay of the Artt Frank ensemble, Ken Barry, tenor sax and soprano sax.

This CD features three of Artt's latest compositions. A pure bop tune entitled "18th and Vine," which pays honor to Kansas City's historic jazz district. Melody and lyrics by Artt and the harmonic chord changes were written by Chris Clarke. Artt also pays tribute to the former wife of Bill Evans, Nenette. The jazz waltz, "Nenette," was co-written by son-in-law Ken Barry and his wife (Artt's daughter) Kathy Frank-Barry, and Lisa L. Frank.

Waltz for Sharon Stone, Released in 1998, a jazz ensemble, MJA Records label

This is a showcase for six of Artt's original compositions. The title track pays honor to the famous actress for her charitable work at Planet Hope, an organization that helps the homeless.

This music is straight ahead romantic jazz, with a highly textured rich sound that includes renowned Viennese violinist Rudy Berger, tenor sax player Rich Perry, flutist Ali Ryerson, pianist co-composer Nik Bariluk, bassist Phil Bowler and Matt Criscuolo on alto sax.

Two Legends Of Bop -- due for release in 2003

This CD is a live jazz performance recorded in New Haven, Connecticut sponsored by Jazz Haven, a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of jazz. Featuring co-leaders Artt Frank and saxophonist, composer/educator and leader of the Woody Herman Big Band, Frank Tiberi. Other musicians include renowned pianist Harold Danko and the incredible bassist, Phil Bowler.

Looking for the Light, a Tribute to Chet Baker - Recorded in 1993

This CCB CD features favorite tunes, of Chet and the sparkling Chet Baker rhythm section of the 80's. Dave Liebman plays brilliant soprano sax, along with Artt, Phil Markowitz on piano, Dennis Irwin on bass and Billy Dowling on trumpet.

Chet Baker Live at Buffalo, CCB RECORDS, 1984

Chet Baker, trumpet; Sal Nistico, tenor sax; Lorne Lofsky, guitar; Artt Frank, drums and Chris Connors, bass. Recorded at the Renaissance II in 1984.

Artt Frank Quartet, Dig Records, 1979

Steve Veikley, trumpet; Ed Fiarenza, tenor sax; Mike Dooner, piano; Artt Frank, drums and Bruce Gertz, bass. Artt Frank with Chet Baker

CCB RECORDS plans to release a number of live performance recordings of Chet with Artt on drums, beginning with Chet's historical comeback performance in Hollywood, Ca. in 1968. These will be known as The HISTORIC / ARCHIVAL SERIES -- truly a collectors item.

Chet Baker Quartet, "Burnin' at Backstreet" -- CCB RECORDS, 1980

Chet Baker, trumpet, vocal; Drew Salperto, piano; Artt Frank, drums; Mike Formanek, bass. Recorded live at the Club Backstreet in 1980

Chet's solo work is awesomely incredible -- pure bop playing. He and Artt are on fire -- both are smokin'! It's like a world tennis championship match -- Artt serves and Chet vollies, and vice versa. Chet's opening statement on "Stella by Starlight" has to be considered by far... the most creative run of notes in the history of jazz... and Artt's brushwork seethes: at the same time, sensitive and supportive. He knows precisely when and where to push Chet. Great CD!!

Some of the musicians with whom Artt has performed in the past 57 years:

Roy Ayers
Curtis Amy
Chet Baker
Joe Beck
Pepper Adams
Rudi Berger
Phil Bowler
Bob Bowman
Joshua Breakstone
Cameron Brown
Chris Brubeck
Lenny Breaux
Hayes Burnette
Graham Bruce
Ken Barry
Joe Cartwright
Buck Clayton
Warren Chiasson
Al Cohn
Joe Cohn
Serge Chaloff
Paul Carlon
Matt Criscuolo
Chris Connors
Ted Curson
Hank Crawford
Chris Clarke
Tadd Dameron
Harold Danko
Miles Davis
Steve Davis
Frank DelaRosa
Joe Di Orio
Don Doane
Lou Donaldson
Mike Dooner
David Dyson
Napua Davoy
Mario Escandera
Bill Evans
Carl Fontana
Roy Frazee
Mike Formanek
Joe Farrell
Jeff Fuller
Dexter Gordon
Joe Gordon
Slim Gaillard
Hal Galper
Jimmy Gannon
Giacomo Gates
Bruce Gertz
Jimmy Heath
Billie Holiday
Richard ‘Groove’ Holmes
Joe Henderson
Stephen Houben
Roni Ben Hur
Dennis Irwin
Carmell Jones
J J Johnson
Sheila Jordan
Teddy Kotick
Harold Land
Dave Liebman
Joe Lano
Brad Leali
Scott Lee
Herbie Lewis
Sabby Lewis
Travis Jenkins
Charlie Jennison
Pete Levy
Tony Lombardozzi
Lorne Lofsky
Charles Loos
Max Lucas
Frank Luther
Peter Madson
Phil Markowitz
Sam Most
Ron McClure
Thelonius Monk
Wes Montgomery
Phil Moore III
Lee Morgan
Mike Metheny
Pat Morrissey
Bob Mover
Gerry Mulligan
Mike Musallame
Sal Nistico
Hod O’Brien
Charlie Parker
King Pleasure
Moacyr Pexoto
Earla Porch
Jacques Pelzer
Art Pepper
Rich Perry
Bill Plummer
Bud Powell
Richie Powell
Joe Puma
Tony Purrone
Mike Ridley
Scott Robinson
Frank Rossolino
Ali Ryerson
Mike Robinowitz
Steve Rigazzi
Drew Salperto
David Schnitter
Sal Salvatore
Gray Sargent
Jack Stella
Carl Saunders
Thornel Schwartz
Zoot Simms
Carson Smith
Albert Stimpson
Gerald Spaits
Sonny Stitt
Frank Strazzeri
Ira Sullivan
Randy Sandke
Peter Smith
Frank Tiberi
Phil Urso
Miraslav Vitous
Leroy Vinegar
Steve Veikley
Benny Waters
Gillian Ward
Lee Weisman
Phil Wilson
Michael Weiss
Lester Young


Quotes and Comments

"Artt Frank looks insistently forward with energy, breaking the shackles of musical restraints. He's a hard swinger, with tons of experience and tradition which equal total artistry every time he sits behind a drum set. What a vivid drummer and jazz pace setter! Few can match Artt Frank for the sheer beauty of his compositions. He is setting new standards-both as a composer and drummer-which mark him as a unique jazz artist and legend. This man is a gift to jazz!" Tim Price -- Saxophone Journal, and Jazz Artist -author and clinician

"Artt is the real shit, man. His groove is so rooted!" Phil Markowitz, jazz pianist

"Artt Frank is one of those few cats who 'play in the moment.'" Warren Chaisson, vibraphonist

"You're a little raw -- but you got good time and you know where to put things (accents, fills) -- placement." Charlie Parker on Artt's drumming at age 17 at the Royal Roost Club in NYC, 1949: and, "Yeah... yeah... Now you're sweepin' the store clean, man!" Charlie Parker on Artt's drumming two years later, NYC, 1951

"You go upstairs, you go downstairs... No matter where you go musically, Artt's playing is always in the pocket!" Al Cohn, legendary tenor saxophonist

"Artt's the egg that holds the mix together." Phillip Moore III, jazz pianist / composer

"You play so sensitively, man. You'll do just fine. Just fine." Comments made by Billie Holiday to Artt on the memorable night he worked with her in 1955

"Artt's a pure bop drummer. Plain and simple. He's for real, man." Harold Danko, jazz pianist / composer / educator

"Artt Frank is a metronomic monster back there - he becomes one with the drum kit." Herb Snitzer, former Metronome & Downbeat vice president

"Artt Frank is a drummer who is felt rather than heard. Knowing how to whisper and precisely when to shout. Engaging!" Leonard Feather, jazz writer and critic

"Smokin' Smokin' Smokin'! Artt creates both spark and fire, man!" Sal Nistico on Artt's drumming

"Artt's brushwork is seething, pulsating, threadneedle, engaging. His stickwork, driving, pulling and explosive, He's very compelling to see and hear." Edward Marquez, Entertainment News, West Los Angeles

"Artt really stirs the soup back there." Jimmy Heath, legendary composer, player

"Artt is the drummer's drummer. Give Artt a pair of brushes or sticks and he'll make a garbage can cover sound like the most expensive snare drum. This cat swings." Teddy Kotick, former bassist with Charlie Parker, Horace Silver and Bill Evans, and two years with Artt Frank's quintet

"Artt's drumming is totally unique compared to the drummers of today simply because he is a product of the bop era and that affords him absolute credibility." Giacomo Gates, recording artist

"Artt Frank's drumming is most engaging and compelling." Fred Buchard, Downbeat Magazine

"Geez.............this is wonderful music. Thank you very much. I told Michelle after about 2 seconds that it was you on drums. No question. I love your energy and committment.........and the way you bring the best out of your brothers. What a thang!" Bassist Dennis Woodrich

"The drummer in any jazz group is a pivotal figure. He must be aware of melody, rhythm, dynamics, timbre, structure. He must be supportive and sensitive to the mood of others in the group, and ready to erupt when it is his turn to solo. Artt Frank, a veteran bop drummer, who has played with such monumental jazz artists as Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt, Bud Powell, and Chet Baker has given students of drumming a complete guide in how to master the subtlities of that pivotal role, and still swing.

'When hearing you play on, "That Trio Thing," your playing was swinging yet unobtrusive! It reminded me of a time when Chet was having some trouble with his teeth and only played a few tunes on trumpet but sang wonderfully on some other songs. Again, you were very supportive. Because Chet was singing quite softly, it was amazing that you could swing so quietly behind him. Some very good percussionists can't or don't want to come down in volume, and if forced to,they seem to lose interest in what they are doing. I hope your health allows you to continue to play "in your own sweet way." Jazz legend Dave Brubeck

"Artt is the real deal-the feel, hits, kicks, most of all the touch. He represents a way of playing that goes to the heart of jazz drumming which is to support and enhance the soloist. Artt is living history." David Liebman

"Artt's playing is so driving, fresh and 'in the moment' that it seems as though he conceived the idea a millesecond before its played. Its not in the least predictable!" Saxophonist Matt Criscuolo

"Artt is one of those unsung heros of the be bop era. He's an authentic bop drummer, who- without any formal education- knows all the ins and outs of this particular style. The music pours out of his heart- He's a great time-keeper, someone who can make a dead man wiggle his toes. His beat pushes the music forwards constantly, without speeding up the tempo. And while doing all that, he's able to react on anything that's happening around him. He can be firm with the sticks and subtle with the brushes, but also subtle with sticks and firm with brushes; he can swing without making a lot of noise, without raising his voice. All this made him the drummer Chet Baker loved to work with when he started his comeback around 1969."Jeroen de Valk, "Chet Baker, his life and his music"-Berkeley Hills Books

"It's great that Artt Frank has put his thoughts and ideas on jazz music and drumming into a book. Its important for the next generation to be able to share the experience and knowledge Artt had accumulated in his many years as a sensitive and swinging jazz artist." Dave Stryker, jazz guitarist

Bebop was never about the notes, recalls noted drummer -- Article in the Oct. 26th 2006 Tucson Citizen

"Artt Frank is one of the last of the 'real deal bebop drummers...a living treasure ."
- Terri Lyne Carrington

"I always learn something from listening to and watching Artt play. The thing that comes through his music for me is the strength of his heart, playing for all he's worth."
- Todd Strait

"In the near future, few people will have the opportunity to see or study with those individuals whom I would call the real masters of jazz drumming. There are many great players today, but almost all lack the real credentials which include recording/performing with the legendary musicians responsible for creating jazz. Artt Frank fits all these criteria."
- Darren Lyons of Darren Lyons Quartet

"Artt's dynamics and ability to keep bands swinging, while at the same time not overpowering the soloist, are some of the techniques he demonstrates, while sharing from his vast experience as a session and live player."
- Aynsley Dunbar

"Artt's concept touches on an essential part of music-making - using the ear as well as the source for sound and ideas. Artt's playing embodies these principles, and reminds us that ear chops is the greatest technique a drummer can posses to realize truly creative playing."
- Jeff Brillinger, drummer for Chet Baker, John Pattitucci, Ken Peplowski

"If anyone has inherited Chet's musical soul, I would say it is Artt Frank."
- Ali Ryerson, Jazz Flutist for Billy Taylor, Kenny Barron, Stephane Grappelli, Art Farmer, Joe Beck

"Artt Frank doesn't just play drums: he plays music!"
- Stan Levey

"Drummer Artt Frank embodies a certain spirit...a love of melodic, swinging music which is the very essence of Jazz."
- Steve Davis, Jazz Trombonist (Art Blakey, Jackie McLean, Chick Corea)

"Artt is the master of the lost art of swinging hard while at the same time playing soft. He's always there supporting you but his playing never impinges upon your consciousness to distract you from soloing."
- Hal Galper, Jazz Pianist (Chet Baker, Cannonball Adderly, Phil Woods, Johnny Hodges, Art Blakey)

"Artt Frank is an extraordinary musician - a consummate bop drummer whose strong pulse can always be felt by the groups in which he performs; yet his sensitivity keeps him from overwhelming the ensemble's music. This combination of strength and delicacy has made him a favorite with many outstanding leaders, most notably Chet Baker, but also Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Sonny Stitt and Dexter Gordon."
- William Gottlieb, World-Renowned Jazz Photographer

"Artt Frank is right in the forefront among those innovators like Max Roach and Art Blakey. Anyone who could remain so long with such a discriminating musician as Chet Baker better be damn good."
- Herman Leonard, World-Renowned Jazz Photographer

"Artt Frank is a rare breed of natural musicians. He was born with a sense of swing and sensitivity."
- Bruce Gertz, Jazz Bassist (Gil Evans, Dave Brubeck, Lee Konitz, Joe Lovano, Danilo Perez, and Professor, Berklee School of Music, Boston)

"Artt, great website. Full of artistry and magic. I have always been a total Chet Baker-Artt Frank fan. Nobody can play the brushes with the soul as you. Your spirituality and love of life is uplifting. Peace be with you Artt." - Brad Hodges

"Artt- what a delight to hear and feel your brush playing. Its all there- a great swingin' feel, a fat sound, melodic soloing, rhythmic subtley, a variety of articulations, dynamics, the be bop vocabulary, and a great samba feel. I really dig the feeling of INTENSITY that underlies everything you play- be it a sweep, a tap, a slap, or a WHAP! Thanks for the inspiration.- I know my brush playing just got a little better."

Jeff Brillinger - Former drummer with Chet Baker

"I love his (Artt Frank) playing. He has great time and the biggest ears of anyone I know!" Chet Baker - during an interview at Stryker's Pub, NY City summer of 1975

             The Touch of Your Lips Upon My Life

                         (For Chet)

  The poet placed his lips around the mouthpiece

  And filled his horn with whispers and starlight.

  It might just as well have been a cameo moon

  Rising into the midnight firmament

  Haunting your heart and tugging at the tears

  Ever-hidden from your eyes.

  He closed his eyes and opened your soul

  To the anguish and dreams of his history,

  As the notes became tone-poems of intimacy and swing.

  So many unfolding years from my teens listening to him

  Across the miles and heartchords I was beckoned by the 

    piercing sweetness

  That resonated from the poet's horn, affire within me.

  A music that caressed my yearning;

  That gave voice to my throbbing embrace for Life;

  A poetry that redefined the texture of love's pulsating throat,

  And for the worlds that needed to find expression.

  This artist who transformed the trumpet and flugelhorn

  Helped me fill those spaces for which there are no words;

  His breath seemed to borrow from the sky's radiant diamonds,

  And sifted through ethereal moonbeams;

  It floated my thoughts into an ambush of unknown tears and pain;

  It delved and swept into the secrets of a rhythm and heartscape

  Known only by the searching priests who stand in the mist

  Of sacred street-lights after a gig,

  Sorting out their love and their soul-ache.

  Who tells us we can never go home again?

  For I am there each time my reverie sweeps me

  Into my wee small hours at Stryker's Pub, O sweet 1974

  Where "I Waited For You,"

  As Bob blew his Starlight riffs ahd Harold found the keys,

  Cameron gave his heartbeat, and Artt brushed out portraits

  Of the music's interior might.

  You stepped up blowing so tenderly touching my heart, my buddy;

  Giving gentleness a new form, a fresh meaning:

  O how I hear The Lush Life calling to me from a wintry 

    December '84.

  And I recall talking again to you,

  The intense, gentle lyricist of the soul's inner recesses;

  Shaking your hand in the dark smoky night

  Asking if you'd play "I Fall In Love Too Easily." (and you did.)

  Ah, sweet driving love drenched memory

  I do go home again

  Everytime I sit under ebony-silk heavens in snowy December

  Or summer's purple soft twilights when jazz whispers to me

  And I remember so well this poet of poets

  Allowing my self to be enveloped by the dreaminess and impeccable 


  The gorgeous color of notes unwritten, on a palette unseen.

  O how I watched you through the unfolding years

  Of rising smoke-rings in cafes long gone;

  Over the sights of glasses sparkling with liquid journeys and ice

  As you warmed my heart with that angellic horn.

  I watched you and Artt build bridges

  That you improvised and crossed together

  All those endless, dark Manhattan nights on 86th Street.

  Artt's brushes creating dark, rolling images and rhythms of light

  With strokes so bold, and often so romantically subtle

  In companionship with the breathy stardust from your golden horn.

  Artt dug his brushes deep beneath the colors

  Swingin-out newly sculptured impressions

  That left both dreamy and tight pathways from note-to-note,

  Vanishing as quickly as they arrived

  Burying themselves so deathlessly into a collective history.

  Your voice was a haunting meadow lark

  With Artt's brushes painting the skyscape for its soaring wings,

  For in his hands I thought I heard the timeless songs of his life.

  The jazz spectrum of dripping melodies and pastel rainbows -

  Born only in the heart's private chamber,

  Where promise and agony, imperishable love and longing all 


  This poet gave to Jazz.

                                  - Anthony Mattiaccio,

                                    May 13, 1988


  Anthony Mattiaccio ©1988


Anthony also writes:

         My friend, Artt Frank, only an authentic love for music and a friend can 

        produce the tone-poems that stir the heart in your singing; for your vocal 

        colorings are not only the scales, pauses, lingerings and upward spirals 

        of tonal light, they are the unknown, private whispers of bereavement 

        for a friend, the respect for his genius and the harmonic interweavings 

        of all you mean to each other, the vast paths, roadways and unseen streets 

        you've lit with cigarette glows after a gig; the cafe windows and all-night 

        diners your shadows and words have fallen upon. Your singing is more than 

        that - it is the living conversation and mirror images of a comradship, 

        a fugitive, spiritual priesthood, a historical embrace between two Knights 

        of the Heart's Riff, two buddies who will always love each other dearly. 

        You once said to me Artt, that my poem makes you feel I've "been part 

        of the band, with us thru our lives in our private talks; you captured 

        the Spirit of who we are, what we created....It makes me cry, Tony." I'll 

        not forget, ever, those words and more of how you describe what I did 

        as a poet. Well, Artt, I wrote some of what I feel when I hear you sing 

        (as I did above) based on all the years I've been with you and Chet in 

        my own way; attending your gigs all thru NYC and listening to all your 

        shows on audio tape, closing my eyes and falling "Deep In A Dream." 


		October 9, 2006



         Artt in Motion
A poem by Tony Purrone, Jazz Guitarist (Heath Brothers, Ed Thigpen, Joe Henderson, Stanley Clarke, Woody Herman)
Swing, swang, swung; grinning at everyone
betas and cymbals fine; sticks and brushes line
dancin' in the rhythms, findin' stuff dat fittums'
listenin' all around, nary a little frown;
boppin' till he droppin'; not too much a floppin'
making spirits soar, comin' back for more;
the Day he meets his Maker, he won't be called a Faker!


Contact Artt Frank

Artt can be reached online at

Web Links

Chet Baker Foundation - Artt is a former Board member of the

MJA Records, where the Souvenir CD can be found

His daughter, Kathy Barry, who plays drums on one track of "Souvenir"

His son-in-law, Ken Barry, who plays sax and flute on "Souvenir," "From The Heart," and "In The Moment," in addition to recording engineering for "That Trio Thing" -- Lots of great links and info on jazz musicians -- Connecting drummers across the world

Jazzlinks Network -- Jazz links from around the world, with sound samples, photos, and bio information

Bali-Treasures Musical Instruments -- Djembes, hand percussion, African drums

Check out sculptures by Earla Porch Frank of Chet Baker, Billie Holliday, and Bill Evans -- also abstract sculptures and drawings

Samples of Artt's Playing (mp3 files)

Live excerpts:
Four -- Artt playing with Chet Baker, Live at Backstreet
Blue 'n' Boogie -- Artt playing with Chet Baker, Live at Backstreet

Studio excerpts:
That Artt, He's All Heart -- from In The Moment CD
Blues In The Closet -- from That Trio Thing CD


Web page design by Ken Barry

Contents © 2013 by Artt Frank