John La Barbera Big Band: Caravan

The Marsalis family gets better press, but the La Barbera family consisting of brothers John, Pat and Joe is at least on a par with Crescent City natives. John leads the band and writes the charts and/or tunes, Pat is on tenor and soprano sax, and Joe sits back in the drums and keeps the band moving forward. And the band! Some of LA’s best which include Kim Richmond/as, Brian Scanlon/as-fl, Wayne Bergeron/tp, Clay Jenkins/tp, Bill Cunliffe/key and Tom Warrington/b.

The music itself is filled with exciting themes and section work along with cooking solos. The driving “Caravan” and “Young Rabbits” both have a solid punch to them with impressive solos by trombonists Eric Hughes and Ryan Dragon. Boppish  pieces like “Voyage” and “Accordin’ to Gordon” have crisp section work by the horns which  punctuate the solos by Jenkins and Scanlon. Brother Pat shows his Coltrane influence on McCoy Tyner’s “Atlantis” while the Brazilian-infused “Incompatible” has rich textures supplied by Cunliffe’s keyboard. Some exciting interplay between brother Joe’s drums and the woodwinds/brass make “Trinacria” a must to see in concert while a rumbling avalanche of rhythm lays a foundation for Scanlon’s rich alto. A keeper for big band fans , modern jazz lovers and supporters  of family values.

Jazz Compass Records

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