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Jazz Articles about Joe La Barbera

Album Review

John La Barbera Big Band: Grooveyard

Read "Grooveyard" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Composer/arranger John La Barbera has been at the top of his game for more than half a century, and Grooveyard is simply another example of his undiminished artistry. Besides arranging everything--superbly, as always--La Barbera wrote six of the session's ten charming songs, escorting other treasures by Carl Perkins, Dave Brubeck, Curtis Fuller and Elvin Jones. As he writes his handsome and colorful big-band charts, La Barbera is always careful to observe Rule No. 1: they have to ...

Album Review

Joe La Barbera: World Travelers

Read "World Travelers" reviewed by Dave Linn

Drummer Joe La Barbera has an extensive and impressive resume. At the age of 20, he played in the second drum chair for the Buddy Rich Big Band before driving the 1972 stellar lineup of Woody Herman's Thundering Herd. In 1978, he was offered the prestigious opportunity to be part of the acclaimed (and what turned out to be the final) line-up of the Bill Evans Trio, where he stayed until the pianist's tragic death in 1980. Later, gigs with ...

Album Review

The John La Barbera Big Band: Grooveyard

Read "Grooveyard" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

The geometry, if you will, of a terrific big band recording is such that the three major elements--the players, the arrangements, and the performance--balance in every regard. Grooveyard from the John La Barbera Big Band is such an offering. The album features ten masterfully selected, arranged, and performed selections, each containing outstanding section, solo, and ensemble playing. Wes Montgomery's “Grooveyard" launches a hip, swinging first course in which tenor man Pat La Barbera and guitarist Brandon Coleman ...

Album Review

Roberta Gambarini: Easy To Love

Read "Easy To Love" reviewed by Richard J Salvucci

In 2007, All About Jazz reviewer Michael Caratti wrote: “This debut outing from Roberta Gambarini sees the Italian-born jazz vocalist pair up with two star-studded rhythm sections and legendary tenor saxophonist James Moody, to present what has to be one of the best vocal jazz albums of the decade. Opening with Cole Porter's classic title track Gambarini's exquisite tone and masterful rhythmic phrasing are immediately on display in the first a capella section. The gradual addition of bass and brushes ...

SoCal Jazz

Sam First Records: Live Jazz on Vinyl

Read "Sam First Records: Live Jazz on Vinyl" reviewed by Jim Worsley

Four short years ago I had the pleasure of attending and putting pen to paper (well, not literally anymore) about Sam First, jny: Los Angeles' hottest new jazz, haunt, which had made a splash on the city's jazz scene. Subsequent visits further validated the hip vibe of modernism combined with vintage jazz. To say that the formula has worked is quite the understatement. The atmosphere and acoustics allow jazz to be presented and heard the way it was meant to ...

Album Review

Joe La Barbera Quintet: World Travelers

Read "World Travelers" reviewed by Jim Worsley

February is surely a bit early in the year to be talking about the best live recording released in 2023. Still, when you have your socks blown off, time of year is of little concern. Drumming icon Joe La Barbera is back, and in a big way. The pendulum has swung and La Barbera's Quintet was swinging like some hep cats in a small club back in the '50s. It has been some time since La Barbera's last recording. This ...

Album Review

Nica Carrington: Times Like These

Read "Times Like These" reviewed by Richard J Salvucci

Every once in a while you chance on a singer and think, “This is a find." Some people barely knew that Julie London was a singer—she didn't consider herself one, certainly—but she had a lovely voice, did not embellish the lyrics, told a story, and got out of the way. She was one of those 1950s signers who really never registered, unless you happened to focus on her looks, which distracted from her talent. So now one thinks, “She should ...


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