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Roland Barber

Adjunct Associate Professor of Trombone and Jazz Studies
Adjunct Associate Professor of Trombone and Jazz Studies

Trombonist Roland Barber joined the faculty of the Blair School of Music in January 2017 as Adjunct Associate Professor of Trombone and Jazz Studies, teaching trombone, jazz brass and jazz improvisation. One-half of longtime Nashville-based jazz duo The Barber Brothers, Barber has also performed with an impressive and diverse list of artists, including Chaka Khan, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center, Kirk Whalum, the Wooten Brothers, Robin Thicke, The Temptations, and the Saturday Night Live Band.

Barber has performed in venues the world over, from Manhattan to Estonia, including Carnegie Hall, Birdland, the Blue Note, Lincoln Center, and Madison Square Garden. Television appearances include MTV’s Making the Band, NBC’s Saturday Night Live, CBS’ Today Show and the ESPN Awards. Barber has performed with titans of jazz music as well as young lions, including Stefon Harris, Clark Terry, Steve Turre, Houston Person, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Wynton Marsalis, Sean Jones, and the Grammy-winning New Orleans Jazz Ensemble.

Beyond the jazz world, Barber is an avid student of American and world music. His signature artistry includes an elegant tone, masterful improvisational storytelling, a blues-rich vocal influence, and deft technical command. Barber is also a celebrated composer and arranger, and was awarded a New Works Jazz Grant from Chamber Music America, which led to the writing and premier of his first extended suite, Songs of the Village, written for his quintet. This suite saw its world premiere at Lincoln Center in 2010. Barber’s compositions also fuel his first CD (released in 2013), Heart Expressed, Art Finessed, which features a combination of musicians from the Nashville and New York jazz scenes, including drummer Ulysses Owens (Christian McBride Trio), pianist Gordon Webster, saxophonist Rahsaan Barber (Roland’s twin brother), and Nashville’s Jim Ferguson on upright bass.

Barber holds an M.M. in Jazz Studies from Manhattan School of Music (2005), as well as an Artist Diploma (2003) and B.M. in Jazz Studies (2001), both from Indiana University. His main stylistic influences are Al Grey, Steve Turre, J.J. Johnson, and Louis Armstrong. Barber’s teachers have included David N. Baker, M. Dee Stewart, Jiggs Whigham, Steve Turre, Tom Lundberg, and Horton Monroe.