Our guest this week is the long time host of ‘Best Coast Jazz’ heard on WFPK 10:00-11:00 on Sunday mornings. John La Barbera brings over thirty years of professional composing/arranging experience to his weekly show featuring the best of the big bands and large jazz ensembles. Sometimes interspersed with personal anecdotes and glimpses of the real inside of the jazz world. From Duke to Gil Evans, Dizzy to Woody, and Basie to Thad Jones, the show has a broad appeal and should satisfy the listening tastes of all age groups.
It began with a cornet in his hands at the age of five and a musical family (his brothers Pat and Joe have their own great stories to tell). From there, trumpeter John LaBarbera forged a name for himself as a performer, arranger and educator. During his tenure with Buddy Rich in the late sixties, John learned that he loved to compose and arrange. He is now one of the most respected artists in the field of large ensemble Jazz arranging. John’s Grammy nominated big band CD “On The Wild Side” and his latest “Fantazm,” on the JazzCompass label, have been met with tremendous artistic and commercial success and are on the way to becoming a jazz big band standards. Besides his work with Buddy Rich, John has had works performed and recorded by a host of well known musicians including Woody Herman, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Phil Woods and many others.
John LaBarbera is also a noted music educator. He is the former Director of Jazz Ensembles at Cornell University and is now a Professor of Music at the University of Louisville where his vast experience has led to the development of courses in Music Industry, Computer Techniques in music, and of course, Jazz.
Here are John’s 5 picks: