Above the Clouds is a collection of the leader's original songs inspired by the jazz tradition, but performed and arranged with a contemporary interpretation. It was recorded at O’Callaghan Studios in Lisle, Illinois. From Latin jazz to ballads and up-tempo burners, this album portrays a variety of jazz moods for the enjoyment of the listener.
Bartolotta studied at Northern Illinois University’s highly regarded music school where he spent four years learning from internationally acclaimed guitarist Fareed Haque. Also, he attended the DePaul School of Music, and was a member of the DePaul Jazz Ensemble, led by well-known Chicago jazz composer and performer Bob Lark. In addition to leading his own quintet, Bartolotta has honed his musical chops by playing with a variety of Chicago-area bands, as well as freelancing. Over the years, he has performed repertoire from the Jazz and American standard songbooks, as well as original compositions by local talents like, Alex Beltran and Nick Sednew.
“I found inspiration from the joy of playing with this band and from those that are close to me in my life. I wanted to honor and explore the sounds of jazz artists like John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Brad Mehldau, and Peter Bernstein,” Bartolotta said. “At the same time, I hoped to express my own voice through the improvisations and the songs themselves.”
With Bartolotta on guitar, the Terry Bartolotta Group features Nick Sednew on trumpet, Alex Beltran on tenor sax, Nathan Kawaller on bass, and Lucas Gillan on drums.
In addition, Bartolotta is a music instructor at Harold Washington College and College of Lake County. He provides jazz clinics at Chicago-area high schools as well.