Joe LaBarbera: Happy If My Tombstone Reads, “Bill Dug Me”

SKF NOTE: Good to see Joe LaBarbera in the news. He was recording with Chuck Mangione when I first heard him, and I saw LaBarbera with Mangione at My Father’s Place on Long Island, NY. His work with pianist Bill Evans on The Paris Concert: Edition 1 and Edition 2 is exceptional. The communication, the interplay among the musicians on these CD’s is at a very high level.

Drumming up the works of Evans
Joe LaBarbera, former drummer of Bill Evans’ trio, slated to perform area show.
By Kirk Silsbee  August 1, 2015 | 10:17 p.m.

Joe LaBarbera

Joe LaBarbera

“For his first trio,” LaBarbera points out.., “Bill told drummer Kenny Dennis to play against him — that wasn’t part of the jazz vocabulary. Drummers had always worked with the pianist up to that time.”

“Bill’s approach pushed past boundaries,” LaBarbera…maintains, “and all musicians learned from his discoveries. For example, he wanted a high emotional content on ballads but he cautioned against hammering people over the head; he didn’t ever want to overstate something.”

“My perception of Bill, going into the Trio,” LaBarbera offers, “was as a swinger. There are so many great examples of him playing straight-ahead.”

evans_bill“I’ll take to the grave the fact that Bill liked my playing. He started to compose again with our trio and added about six new originals to the book. I’ve got a letter here somewhere where he said he was going to write something for me, and it was about that time that my daughter was born. He wrote ‘Tiffany’ for her.”

“I’d be happy if my tombstone reads: Bill Dug Me.”

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4 Responses to Joe LaBarbera: Happy If My Tombstone Reads, “Bill Dug Me”

  1. Kirk A Silsbee says:

    I readily devoured and appreciated all of those pieces–on Sonny Greer, Frankie Dunlap and others–that I came across. Thanks for doing them.

  2. Pingback: James Bradley, Jr. Modern Drummer Interview 1981 | Scott K Fish

  3. scottkfish says:

    Dear Mr. Silsbee: Yes. Jazz elders among others. 🙂
    Best, skf

  4. Kirk Silsbee says:

    Are you the Scott Kevin Fish who used to write for Modern Drummer magazine on the jazz elders?

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