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 in and around NYC and other locales. 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, the upcoming Joker origin story starring Joaquin Phoenix, Martin Scorsese’s soon-to-be-released 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.
An opportunity presented itself in the fall of 2016 that changed everything. He decided to return to his roots and main love and began performing music again, while continuing to produce films. 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. 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.”