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2023.8.31 John La Barbera Mini-Lesson

John La Barbera


August 31, 2023

Event Type


Daniel Jamieson

Event Type Description

Each week we upload a free Mini-Lesson to our YouTube channel featuring one of our Presenting Artists.


Grammy-nominated composer and arranger John La Barbera explores John Coltrane's Giant Steps to discuss how modern jazz harmonic language breaks away from convention using non-functional harmony.

About the Presenting Artists(s)

John La Barbera is a Grammy-nominated composer and arranger, and two-time recipient of The National Endowment for The Arts award for Jazz Composition. His works have been recorded and performed by Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Mel Torme, Chaka Khan, Harry James, Bill Watrous, and Phil Woods among countless others. Though his major output has been in jazz, he has had works performed and recorded for symphony orchestra, string chamber orchestra, brass quintet, and other diverse ensembles. Most recently, La Barbera was one of sixteen composers commissioned by the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute at UCLA to compose new works that meld jazz and symphonic music. The resulting work, “Morro da Babilonia”, was presented by the American Composers Orchestra in New York City at Columbia University’s Miller Hall. La Barbera’s Grammy-nominated big band album “On The Wild Side“, along with “Fantazm“ and his latest “Caravan” have been met with tremendous artistic and commercial success. As co-producer and arranger for The Glenn Miller Orchestra Christmas recordings (In The Christmas Mood I & II) he 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.” 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. His Sunday morning big band jazz radio show, "Best Coast Jazz" on WFPK was a mainstay on public radio for over twenty years.

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