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Jazz Articles about John La Barbera

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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 ...

5
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 ...

4
Album Review

John La Barbera Big Band: Caravan

Read "Caravan" reviewed by Jack Bowers


Summoning Juan Tizol's travel-worn “Caravan" to raise the curtain on a big-band album poses a challenge for any arranger, one that John La Barbera easily brushes aside on the third recording as leader of his own ensemble. And while “Caravan" dazzles in La Barbera's capable hands, it is merely the opening salvo in a session that smolders from end to end, clearly rivaling and and some ways even trumping his Grammy Award-nominated debut album, On the Wild Side.

7
Album Review

John La Barbera Big Band: Caravan

Read "Caravan" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello


The beautiful Mediterranean island of Sicily--and the triple-legged image on its national flag--are also known as the “Trinicria." That name translates as--and also describes--the triangular shape of the island. Whether that's a geo-historical lesson or not, the three La Barbera Brothers--John, Joe and Pat have established themselves as a most formidable familial trio in jazz history, right up there with the Joneses, Heaths, Adderleys, Breckers, and others. And, with Caravan that La Barbera legacy will assuredly continue to resonate.

11
Catching Up With

The La Barbera Brothers: Jazz DNA

Read "The La Barbera Brothers: Jazz DNA" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello


It's an interesting phenomenon how certain families enter and distinguish themselves in this marvelous world of jazz--The Joneses, Heaths, Candolis, Royals, Breckers, Mangiones, and others. Over the last five decades--even many more if one goes farther back to when they were young children playing in the family band with Mom and Pop--the La Barbera Brothers--John, Joe and Pat have graced stages with pantheon artists such as Bill Evans, Buddy Rich, Buddy DeFranco, DIVA, Tony Bennett, Elvin Jones and many more. ...

141
Album Review

The John La Barbera Big Band: Fantazm

Read "Fantazm" reviewed by Jack Bowers


Fantazm is the second album by the John La Barbera Big Band, following last year's impressive debut, On the Wild Side. While the songs are new, almost everything else, we are happy to report, remains invariable--even the band's personnel is essentially the same, with guitarist Larry Koonse added on two tracks. La Barbera's charts (he arranged everything) are once again superb, his hand-picked crew of West Coast heavyweights deciphers them flawlessly, and John's brothers, tenor saxophonist Pat and drummer Joe, ...

145
Album Review

The John LaBarbera Big Band: On the Wild Side

Read "On the Wild Side" reviewed by Jack Bowers


Good things, it has been said, come to those who wait. Well, we've waited a long time for John La Barbera, the middle third of the multi-talented La Barbera brothers, to record his first big-band album, and it's good. Check that; it's better than good--much closer, one might reasonably argue, to spectacular. As a composer and arranger, La Barbera knows how to make a big band swing like there's no tomorrow; one doesn't spend nearly two decades playing and writing ...


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