Joe La Barbera


Joe La Barbera has been in demand by the greatest names in jazz for 5 decades. From his first professional appearance at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas with Frankie Randall and the Buddy Rich band in 1968 to his work with jazz great Bill Evans and up to the present, he has always been regarded by his peers as a tasteful, musical drummer and a supportive accompanist. Bill Evans summed it up best when he said: “Joe is very dedicated to playing…he’s a top soloist and he does the right thing at the right time”.

He has worked with an impressive list of artists across generations and continents including Woody Herman, Chuck Mangione, John Scofield, Mike and Randy Brecker, Toots Thielemans, Lee Konitz, Joe Locke, John Abercrombie, Phil Woods, Bud Shank, Gary Burton, Dado Maroni, Enrico Pieranunzi, Brad Mehldau, Phillipe Catherine and Kenny Wheeler to name only a few.

He taught at the prestigious California Institute for the Arts for 28 years also appearing as a clinician and guest artist at many major universities around the world. After retiring in 2021 he was awarded Faculty Emeritus from Cal Arts. He is the recipient of the 2019 Jazz Treasure Award from the Los Angeles Jazz Society, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Board of Supervisors of Los Angeles County. His book, Times Remembered The Final Years of the Bill Evans Trio published in 2021 has been praised by musicians and fans alike. His latest recording, World Travelers, the Joe La Barbera Quintet is recently released on Sam First Records.