Drummer Jonathan Barber is quickly making a name for himself. Voted this year’s best “Up & Coming” drummer in the Modern Drummer Readers Poll, the young Barber is setting the bar high, but what do you expect from someone who’s already collaborated with Erykah Badu, Wallace Roney, Jeremy Pelt, Kenny Barron, Terrace Martin, Stefon Harris, and Marcus Strickland just to name a few. Hoping to live up to the hype, Barber is releasing his debut as a leader, Vision Ahead, on this very day.
Vision Ahead emerged following the devastating and unexpected passing of Barber’s only brother. “I became confused with the direction that life was taking me and numb to the new norm that instantly presented itself to me; for it was that stand still moment the words “Vision Ahead” became the theme of my next chapter in life,” says Barber. He continues, “My music not only helped me through my grieving process, but sparked a fresh musical style in hopes of carrying on the spirit of this American art form; jazz.”
Joining Barber on the album are pianist Taber Gable, guitarist Andrew Renfroe, saxophonist Godwin Louis, bassist Matt Dwonszyk, and vocalists Denise Renee and Sasha Foster. Vision Ahead amounts to a very mature first step for Barber. His sound his novel and refreshing. His ideas are contemporary and cohesive. It is rooted in tradition and technique yet striving to push barriers and break down walls. If all else, it looks like Barber has a bright future ahead.
Stream “Crown”, the lead single off Jonathan Barber’s debut album, Vision Ahead, below.
Sébastien Hélary co-founded Nextbop in 2009 with the objective of introducing modern jazz music to a younger generation of fans. Aside from music, his other main obsession is food, particularly ramen and other Japanese delicacies.