John La Barbera started playing cornet when he was five years old. At the age of seven he was playing gigs with his parents and brothers Pat, and Joe in the La Barbera Family Band. By the late sixties John was playing trumpet in the great Buddy Rich Orchestra. It was on that band that he developed his love for composition and arranging. He went on to play and write for many of the great big bands and is now one of the most respected composer/arrangers in the music field. His works have been recorded and performed by Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Sammy Davis Jr., Mel Torme', Chaka Khan, Harry James, Bill Watrous, The Glenn Miller Orchestra, Al Cohn, Bill Perkins, and Phil Woods just to name a few. As co-producer and arranger for The Glenn Miller Orchestra Christmas recordings (In The Christmas Mood I & II) John has received Gold & Platinum Records. John is also a co-founder of the world famous women's big band, DIVA.
John's GRAMMY® nominated Big Band CD, "On The Wild Side" (JC 1007) and his latest "Fantazm," (JC 1011) on the Jazz Compass label have received critical acclaim in every major jazz journal and are on the way to becoming jazz big band standards.
In addition to his professional writing career, John is actively involved in the field of music education. Mr. La Barbera is the former Director of Jazz Ensembles at Cornell University and is now a Professor of Music at the University of Louisville where he has implemented courses in Jazz, Music Industry, and MIDI/Computer techniques in music.
During his seven year tenure as Jazz Editor of the International Trumpet Guild , Mr. La Barbera's interviews with the world's leading jazz trumpet artists were a regular feature of the ITG Journal. He is a charter member of the newly formed Jazz Education Network where he serves as an expert advisor in the big band catagory. John is a faculty member of the Skidmore Jazz Institute where he teaches trumpet, and theory. He is also active as a clinician and lecturer in colleges and high schools throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Mr. La Barbera is a two time recipient of the National Endowment For the Arts award for Jazz Composition, and his published works distributed by Kendor Music , Hal Leonard, Walrus Music, and others, are considered standards in the field of jazz education.