Recap: 2013 Iowa City Jazz Festival

994210_10151532469947098_172685960_n-1During the summer I had a great experience performing at the 2013 Iowa City Jazz Festival with the JD Allen Trio (Alexander Claffy on Bass and myself on drums). I must say for my first time in Iowa City, the city made a good first impression. The crowd definitely brought the energy and displayed hospitality to the band. This year provided a good line-up of musicians. I must highlight two special ones. For the first time ever I played at the same festival with my teacher and good friend Eric McPherson who performed with the Fred Hersch Trio. Being able to hang with your friend and listen to their music in another state is quite enjoyable. Last but not least I met for the first time the prolific Pharaoh Sanders. After the concert I went backstage to met him which led us going back to the hotel and having diner. Yes, Pharaoh Sander treated me to dinner with him. The amount of knowledge and history he embodies to very humbling. Believe or not Mr. Sanders he is a sports fan. He expressed to me how happy he was when the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs reach game 7 in this years NBA Finals.
Experiences like this make me appreciate what I do and the artist who came before.

On July 7, saxophonist JD Allen’s trio played a set that one might expect to hear during a late-night jam session. Sans time constraints or an identifiable set list, each player went deeper inside the music, notably rising drummer Jonathan Barber. “Nothing’s premeditated,” said Barber, shortly after the boundless set. “We don’t talk before about what tunes we’re going to play. [JD] gets up there and plays a couple of notes, then we kind of figure out the tune and just go forth.”

-Shannon J. Effinger (writer for Downbeat Magazine)


970384_244941285656024_439705950_nBeing apart of the JD Allen Trio it’s a privilege to perform and help celebrate legendary jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins with a live performance following the East Coast Premiere screening of a documentary entitled “Sonny Rollins Beyond the Notes”. The screening and live performance event will both be held on October 2 at the Woodstock Playhouse at 103 Mill Hill Road, Woodstock, NY.

Midwest Tour with the Eldar Djangirov Trio

I am excited to link up with Eldar Djangirov (Piano) and Mike Pope (Bass) as we gear up for an exciting tour in the Midwest.
Check out these dates and see if we are in a city near you. Be a witness and experience a highly charged concert.

oct 6: Columbia, MO; We Always Swing Jazz Series
oct 9: Cleveland, OH; Night-town
oct 10: Detroit, MI; Cliff Bells
oct 11: Chicago, IL; Andy’s Jazz Club
oct 12: Chicago, IL; Andy’s Jazz Club

Drums around the world!!!!

2013 Detroit Jazz Festival

1236316_10151835835498774_1915649636_nI will be performing at the 2013 Detroit Jazz Festival Saturday August 31st with the J.D. Allen Trio (5pm at the Absopure Pyramid Stage). Also at 11:30pm I will be hosting a Jam session along with J.D. Allen and David Weiss at the Marriott Hotel in the GM Building.

Newest Faculty member at The Greater Hartford Arts Academy.

The Drums Around The World Movement begins.
It will be an honor and a privilege to share experiences and build relationships at the GHAA. It is my desire to not only increase the awareness of their potential but also inspire the students to make a difference in their environment.

Jonathan Barber performing with the Brooklyn Philharmonic featuring Erykah Badu

600304_10151483367042098_178371629_nI am humble and honored to announce that I will be performing with the Brooklyn Philharmonic featuring the “1st lady of Neo-Soul” Erykah Badu…… Yes, I will be performing with Badu. June 8th & 9th, 2013 held at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House.
This is definitely one of my highlights as a musicians. Conducted by Alan Pierson, composed by Ted Haerne and accompanied by the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Bed-Stuy Series present “You’re causing quite a Disturbance.” This will be a groundbreaking concert that explores the scope of hip-hop-orchestral fusion. Music arranged from the album New Amerykah Part One: 4th World War

“The Drum Around the World movement brings no boundaries.”

JD Allen “Grace”

I am happy and excited to be apart of JD Allen’s new record “Grace” (Savant Records). Dezron Douglas (bass) and Eldar Djangiov (piano) accompanied and explored on this record. What you’ll find on “Grace” is mixing and matching altitudes with a constant pulse. “Be like the wind” was the quote of that JD Allen conveyed throughout the recording session. I set aside my bag of tricks and entered into a familiar but unfamiliar territory…. “The Big Room.”
All 11 tracks resemble the facets of life that we deal with whether we like to or not; silence, crying, commitment, and going against the norm. Ultimately I found myself content and at peace by the honesty I put forth with the music.
Be on the look out April 23 (release date).

Grace- undeserved favor.

Excerpt from the New York Times April 19, 2013.
(by Nate Chinen)
J. D. Allen


“Grace” (Savant), the latest post-bop dispatch from the tenor saxophonist J. D. Allen. It comes from an unexpected source: the pianist Eldar Djangirov, a former child prodigy whose own music tends to exude certainty and closure. Mr. Allen hasn’t featured a pianist of any sort on his albums over the last five years, so Mr. Djangirov’s mere presence is one surprise here; that it works so marvelously, with such intriguing elasticity, is another.

“Grace” divides into two acts, intended to frame a dramatic arc, but Mr. Allen doesn’t push the concept: he’s more interested in what he can physically achieve with his knockabout rhythm section, which also features the bassist Dezron Douglas and the drummer Jonathan Barber. His sound on tenor, soulful and centered, still suggests the John Coltrane of, say, “Crescent,” but he has internalized that sound so fully that it feels like his own, even on a Coltrane-ish ballad like “Selah (My Refuge).” This is what a dynamic young jazz group can sound like when history’s burden is carried lightly but honestly.

Letter on Gun Control

A Letter Considering Gun Control.
My name is Jonathan Barber.

I am writing in a great plead to earnestly consider taking a stronger approach and action to gun control here in Connecticut.

Joining with the Sandy Hook Promise, not only do I stand grieving with the families effected by this tragedy but also stand with the Sandy Hook Promise mission statement.
“I’m making the #SandyHookPromise to keep my community & country safer from violence.”
To effectively make an impact as a 23-year old college graduate I must declare that we as a community must grip the control and access to guns in our communities, to not allow another December 14, 2012.

I recognize the issue is gun-control. The reality is that the access to guns are easy to obtain. We must take an holistic approach solve the questions/topics:

Stricter screening to obtain a gun/permit. (mental-illness should dictate whether he or she is suitable to have a gun/permit)

The amount to guns per-person. (this brings control on the amount of guns in our communities)

The mile radius from a school to a place that sells guns/ammunition.

Stricter laws on the types of weapons a person may be able to obtain (9milli vs. semi automatic) (Mass-murders are using autimatic guns)

From the depths of my heart I urge the community to come together with the vision to protect the next generation to serve this country. Senseless and demonic acts of people taking innocent lives away and destroying the joy of family MUST COME TO AN END. This country has receive too many wake-up calls to let a re-evlaution, a talk, and a consideration to change our gun laws go by.
Guns brings fear, danger, and unfortunately death in our community.
I encourage a healthy debate where both parties come together with the vision of protecting our family and friends.
A mother must continue to be nurturing, a father must continue to provide, a child must continue brighten the world, a brother must to be an example for the next generation, a sister must continue to be a role-model, and a community must rise up and innovate livelihoods that make our community and country safer.

With the support on gun-control I thank you for this opportunity to allow my voice to be heard.

Reflecting on 2012

Approaching the end of 2012, I am extremely grateful for what I have encountered.
It has been great traveling across the country; taking on whatever it brings. Being in a working band this year, attempting to stretch the music time after time, was what I lived for. Realizing the difficulty of maintaining a high level proved it’s a reflection on life. Clearly, some days are just better than others. The key is your perception; taking on something that may seem small or useless and making it into something. I took every opportunity as a steppingstone to reach further in my growth. One thing I love about the music I play is the same people you study/check out can be the same people you become connected to in a matter of seconds. It’s a humbling experience.
My 2012 lesson is committing to an idea then following through . I have put this lesson into action most when times were hard. This year it was extremely unfortunate to experience three tragic deaths; but one thing I do know is that LOVE WINS! I must stand strong and allow each circumstance to become a testament. The mission is to let the people feel my excitement, hurt, pain, love, and faith through my playing. Music can’t always be portrayed as “happy go lucky” but pain and sadness must also be heard. There are broken people out in this world whom we know music can heal again. I’m excited to reach higher, release the drums around the world movement, as well as play with more incredible musicians.
Be Ready!!

Where is Music Headed?…….

“Music will only go as far as the musicians will to push it forward.”
One of my biggest challenges musically is to execute the ideas that are brewing in my head. Some problems I see are musicians operating in fear, stifling their ideas by always standing in the shadows of a pioneer (jazz master) and jump on a concept just because society shows their approval. There’s a disconnect with the mind and spirit. Feeling and hearing a motif, then allowing it to manifest. At the end of the day I support any musician that is out on the music scene trying to play live music. We must embrace the change in culture, society, and technology. Those three elements are way beyond our (musicians) control. It moves with the world. One reason for this change is the limited access to the masters. There aren’t enough gigs where you could perform with a Jimmy Heath, Roy Haynes, Wayne Shorter, MycCoy Tyner, Sonny Rollins, Randy Weston…. the people that have been an understudy from the conception of an art form known as Jazz. (Let’s embrace them while they are alive).
Where is music headed? I’m starting to see an open market of anybody starting their own band/project. It doesn’t matter how old you are nor who you played with. I’m currently working on my own project but I would not think twice to turn down my own band’s gig to play with Ron Carter (or any music master). It’s somethings about the spirit of the elders passing the tradition down to the younger generation. I predict two things could happen with my generation. We will create a sound that will spring forth independent productions all across the entertainment industry or become babies being fed whatever society gives. I’m grateful that I have rub shoulders with great artist like Rene Mclean, Hank Jones, Harold Mabern, Wallace Roney and Sonny Rollins. “Being true to the music means allowing yourself to embrace what’s already been done while striving to reach your highest capability.” – Jonathan Barber