Last month I was wondering if the upcoming Jonathan Barber album Legacy Holder will be a game changer for him. Since then I've been listening to more Legacy Holder tracks and the signs definitely point in that direction. The writing is really good certainly and above all the sound has a convincing direction. I enjoyed 'Haikus' particularly. It's the little touches Barber is so good at, coming in with all the insistence of a Jeff Tain Watts at the beginning of 'Major' and then grooving like hell. Barber is not reinventing the wheel but he is certainly breathing new life in the fierier more energy laden branch of contemporary bop and injecting it with a vitality and anthemic spirit that marks him out as the big drummer discovery so far in 2020.
Check the original post below Listening to Marie Kruttli's fine trio record The Kind of Happy One yesterday I was interested to hear more of the drummer, Jonathan Barber. As luck would have have it he has a new record out with his Vision Ahead band. Listening to the glinting almost folkloric sheen to the title track I'm reminded of the style certainly in the atmospherics and scenic detours of Nir Felder's Golden Age. It was Nate Smith playing drums on that record and certainly like Smith, Barber, 30, from Hartford, Connecticut in the States now based in New York, has a winning contemporary way about him and is totally at ease with a 21st century sense of jazz speaking of now while not immersing himself in a stuck-in-the-past bubble slightly ironic given the ''legacy'' word in the album title. Barber has pianist Taber Gable, guitarist Andrew Renfroe, alto saxophonist Godwin Louis, bassist Matt Dwonszyk + vocalist Mar Vilaseca guesting with him on the record. Barber has worked with some heavy hitters in his short career to date including Pat Metheny, Nicholas Payton, Buster Williams and Jeremy Pelt.