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Legendary New York City jazz drummer

Legendary New York City jazz drummer

Legendary jazz drummer Clifford Barbaro has arrived in Wellington to begin a month long musician’s residency. Barbaro, who in his four decade professional career has performed and recorded with the likes of the Sun Ra Arkestra, Steve Lacy, Betty Carter and the Lionel Hampton Band, has been invited to New Zealand from NYC to spend a month playing and recording with local musicians.

Barbaro has been invited jointly by the Inspiring Artists Project (IAP) and the New Zealand Improvised Music Charitable Trust as the first of a series of joint ventures intended to establish a regular musicians’ Artist in Residence scheme in Wellington.

Local star pianist and founder of IAP, Jonathan Crayford, met Barbaro in New York and subsequently performed and recorded with the drummer there. Since these experiences he has been very excited about bringing the veteran drummer back to New Zealand. One recording project, Jonathan Crayford Plays Terry Crayford, was begun in New York with Barbaro in 1999 but never fully completed. Crayford hopes to remedy this while Barbaro is in New Zealand.

A veteran of the jazz scene and a New York City native, Clifford Barbaro’s combustible percussion has propelled the bands of Betty Carter, Charles Tolliver, James Carter, Sherman Irby, Lionel Hampton, John Hicks, Sun Ra, and John Hendricks, and has fueled the explorations of the Sun Ra Arkestra.

Barbaro started early on in life studying music at home, playing the flute and various percussion instruments. He attended the Harnett School of Music in Manhattan (1966 68). In 1969 he started playing drums professionally with various Latin bands and joined the Pee Wee's House Band (Scotty Holt, Cedar Walton).

In the early 70's, Clifford Barbaro toured Japan, China and Thailand with the Lionel Hampton Band. From 1972 until 1978, he performed with Betty Carter.

He then moved to Paris (France) where he lived and played for two years. Barbaro returned to New York in 1985 to work with Jon Hendricks. In 1988 he joined the Sun Ra Arkestra.

He currently is a member of the trio Bop Juice, which features tenor saxophonist Ralph Lalama and bassist Dennis Irwin. Since 1995, Barbaro also performs and records with The New York HardBop Quintet

Barbaro will spend June performing and recording with local musicians throughout Wellington and, in the final week, will present a workshop on jazz drumming (June 24th) and Solar System a final major big band concert (June 25th). Both events will be held at Happy on the corner of Tory and Vivian streets.

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