Primary Instrument: Trombone
Twins Rahsaan and Roland Barber, saxophonist and trombonist, respectively, are committed to continuing the legacy of jazz through their efforts as composers, performers, bandleaders and educators. Though still in their early twenties, the Barber Brothers have learned their craft both in the classroom and in the informal sessions, shoulder to shoulder with the veterans of the music such as Al Grey and Stanley Turrentine. The Barber Brothers’ training includes virtually every significant resource in modern jazz education. Their experiences include the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Camps, the Essentially Ellington Festival (where both were named Outstanding Soloists), the All-American Grammy High School Jazz Bands, the Ravinia Steans Young Artists Program, the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program, and the Jazz Aspen Program. In addition, the Barber Brothers each obtained a B.M. in Jazz Studies and an Artist Diploma from Indiana University, studying with the world's pre-eminent jazz educator, Dr. David Baker.
Individually, the Barber Brothers are also revered as accomplished performers. Jazz legend and trombonist Curtis Fuller labeled Roland what jazz trombone is all about on the heels of Roland’s winning of the 2000 International Trombone Association’s Frank Rosolino Competition. Comparably, Rahsaan was one of four Americans selected by audition to participate in the 2003 World Saxophone Competition, held at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Currently, the Barber Brothers are completing graduate study at Manhattan School of Music while in the midst of their fourth year as leaders of the Barber Brothers Jazz Quintet (BBJQ).
After being born over three months premature with the medical predictions of brain damage and possible death, the twins quickly eased away their family's worries, becoming academic scholars and prominent faces in Nashville's growing jazz scene. As one might expect, the Barber Brothers come from a musical family. Sharing the name of one of jazz history's most unique and exciting practitioners, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, is, of course, no coincidence. Reaping the benefits of a multi-generational household, the Barber Brothers were exposed at an early age to a myriad of African-American musics. These include the gospel of a CME church founded five generations ago by their family, Beale Street blues, jazz old and new, and popular musicians ranging from Bill Withers to Prince. The Barber Brothers also inherited an appreciation of classical music, due to their grandmother’s piano-practicing in the home during their youth.
The independent release of the Barber Brothers Jazz Quintet's first CD, Twinnovation, marks the twins' first major step onto the national radar of the contemporary jazz scene. Joined by a stellar trio of pianist Allyn Johnson, bassist Jeff Hiatt and drummer Deno Sanders, the Barber Brothers realized a recording that features ten of their original compositions. Their songs are composed with a passion to portray their emotions, concerns and experiences through jazz executed at its highest artistic level. The Barber Brothers’ accomplishments include performances at venues such as the Kennedy Center, the Village Vanguard and Birdland. In climbing the ranks of the nation's most promising jazz acts, the Barber Brothers have opened for the Greg Osby Four and the Christian McBride band, and secured a performance engagement at the 2004 IAJE Conference. Clearly, the legacy of the twentieth century's great jazz artists is in good hands. Energized by both the lessons of their musical predecessors as well as the synergy of their unique relationship, the Barber Brothers have developed a contemporary soundscape for jazz listeners of yesterday, today and tomorrow.