Glendale News-Press article about Joe La Barbera
Kirk Silsbee – "[Joe’s] always a pleasure to listen to — whether kicking along a big band, sparking an ensemble or supporting a singer — but in a trio setting La Barbera shows how to administer a flexible pulse with textural shadings and finely-graded dynamics, set off a soloist and add color to the arrangement.."
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Reviews for The Joe La Barbera Quintet's "Silver Streams"
Down Beat Magazine "Three Stars"
THE JOE LA BARBERA QUINTET
CD discoveries of the week.Joe La Barbera's Silver Streams (Jazz Compass) shows off the drummer's delicate versatility. Proof that great drumming doesn't have to be loud, just commanding and conversational.
Marc Myers Jazz Wax
The superb drummer’s latest album with his quintet is a tasty set of straight-ahead jazz.
Jack Garner, Democrat and Chronicle 8/14/12
Bill Evans talked about a "Universal Mind Force," into which the finest musicians tap. Silver Streams demonstrates what is ultimately possible when five stellar players merge to simultaneously access that force and deliver its awesome power through their magnificent music.
Nicholas F. Mondello, All About Jazz Published: October 17, 2012
Superb drummer, Joe La Barbera, brought his amazing quintet to Blue Whale to celebrate their new Silver Streams CD release on Saturday, August 11th. It was a packed house and the fans were about to have memories of a fantastic musical evening. Silver Streams is the title of the new CD and pays tribute to the great Horace Silver in the title tune of the same name composed by Bill Cunliffe. The rest of this great CD has compositions by members of the quintet and other musician composers making it one of the best new releases in this time. La Barbera’s quintet had La Barbera, (drums); Bob Sheppard, (saxes); John Daversa, (trumpet and flugelhorn); Bill Cunliffe, (piano) and Tom Warrington, (bass).
Glenn A. Mitchell, L.A. Jazz Scene, September, 2012 issue
Joe La Barbera: Silver Streams (Jazz Compass)
Long after the east-vs-west nonsense of the 1950s and ‘60s, much of the jazz establishment still looks the other way, listens the other way, when it comes to music played and recorded on the left coast. Such close- minded listenersthey don’t include you, of coursewould be well advised to make an exception for this album by a powerful and subtle drummer. It is yet another sleeper by La Barbera, who with trumpeter Clay Jenkins, bassist Tom Warrington and guitarist Larry Koonse founded the Jazz Compass label a few years ago. Jenkins, Warrington, saxophonist Bob Shepherd and pianist Bill Cunliffe join La Barbera in a collection that contains a stunning version of Scott LaFaro’s “Jade Visions.” In it, the leader displays the lacy cymbal work that has been one of the joys of his music from his days with Bill Evans. Cunliffe’s title tune, structured like a suite, opens for mutual improvisation as well as solos by all hands. Further highlights: the quintet’s takes on Steve Swallow’s quirky “Bite Your Grandmother” and Elvin Jones’s “E.J.’s Blues.”
Doug Ramsey, ArtsJournal.com
By Martin Z. Kasdan Jr.
Joe is the drummer of the La Barbera clan and leads a superb group of musicians on his latest outing: Bill Cunliffe on piano, Tom Warrington on bass, Clay Jenkins on trumpet, and Bob Sheppard on tenor and soprano saxes, all mainstays of this group for two decades. The overall sound of the quintet is mainstream modern, but there's much more going on than simple homage to the tradition. Cunliffe's opening "Afluencia" moves from invocational to post bop, while the leader's only composition, "Monkey Tree," breaks up the rhythms to great effect. Steve Swallow's "Bite Your Grandmother" moves toward more outside, while Scott LaFaro's "Jade Visions" offers ample opportunity to come back to earth for lovely ballad playing. The title track, another Cunliffe composition, seems to reference the strong hard bop of Horace Silver. Alan Pasqua's "Grace" gives Cunliffe the opportunity to shine on another ballad, while the closing "E.J.'s Blues" (by Elvin Jones) opens up for solos by all but the bassist in what sounds like something from the Blue Note heyday. This is solid and fresh music.
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