Grammy nominated composer/arranger John La Barbera started playing cornet when he was five years old. At the age of seven he was playing gigs with his parents and brothers Pat, and Joe in the La Barbera Family Band. By the late sixties John was playing trumpet in the great Buddy Rich Orchestra. It was on that band that he developed his love for composition and arranging. He went on to play and write for many of the great big bands and is now one of the most respected composer/arrangers in the music field. His works have been recorded and performed by Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Sammy Davis Jr., Mel Torme', Chaka Khan, Harry James, Bill Watrous, The Glenn Miller Orchestra, Al Cohn, Bill Perkins, and Phil Woods just to name a few.
John’s Grammy nominated big band CD “On The Wild Side” and his latest “Fantazm,” on the Jazz Compass ® label, have been met with tremendous artistic and commercial success and are on the way to becoming jazz big band standards. His newest big band CD, "Caravan" WAS released January 21, 2014 on the Jazz Compass label.
As co-producer and arranger for The Glenn Miller Orchestra Christmas recordings (In The Christmas Mood I & II) John has received Gold & Platinum Records and his arrangement of “Jingle Bells” from those recordings can be heard in the Academy Award winning film “La La Land.” John is also the co-founder of “Diva” the all women jazz big band founded in New York City in 1992.
Mr. La Barbera is a Professor Emeritus of Music at the University of Louisville’s School of Music and an international clinician/lecturer whose topics range from composing/arranging to intellectual property and copyright During his seven year tenure as Jazz Editor of the International Trumpet Guild, Mr. La Barbera's interviews with the world's leading jazz trumpet artists were a regular feature of the ITG Journal. He is charter member of the Jazz Education Network and also active as a clinician and lecturer in colleges and high schools throughout the U.S. and abroad.
John's Sunday morning big band jazz radio show, "Best Coast Jazz" on WFPK has been a mainstay on public radio for over twenty years and is streamed worldwide. Mr. La Barbera is a two time recipient of the National Endowment For the Arts award for Jazz Composition, and his published works distributed by Kendor Music, Hal Leonard, and others, are considered standards in the field of jazz education.
On The Wild Side" nominated for a Grammy (R) in the large jazz instrumental category in 2004