JONATHAN BARBER
VISION AHEAD

"Barber's concept with Vision Ahead is shapely and sure, fortified with youthful energy, yet tempered by mature skills."

Ken Micallef (Downbeat)

Vision Ahead is an ascendant New York jazz quintet led by Modern Drummer’s “#1 Best Up-and-Coming Drummer of 2018,” Jonathan Barber. Only 28 years old, Mr. Barber has already worked with artists such as Buster Williams, Kenny Barron, Nicholas Payton, Jeremy Pelt, Jimmy Greene, J.D. Allen, Terrace Martin, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and Erykah Badu. Now, he’s now stepping out in full force as a bandleader. DownBeat magazine calls Vision Ahead’s self-titled debut album Barber’s “greatest accomplishment to date,” but make no mistake, this group is more than the Jonathan Barber Quintet; this is unmistakably “Vision Ahead,” a distinctive and close-knit group of musicians who have been working toward this moment for years. Featuring Godwin Louis on saxophone, Andrew Renfroe on guitar, Matt Dwonszyk on bass, and Taber Gable on keys and piano, Vision Ahead offers a fresh blend of classic jazz with elements of gospel, rock, soul, and fusion that’s already attracting listeners across generations. Even when they’re playing hard—and they do reach some thrilling crescendos—this extremely dynamic band always feels impeccably sharp and in control, cool far beyond their years. Barber also shows quite a gift for pacing in his new compositions, with each song boasting a real sense of progression that’s balanced with a proper spotlight on his bandmates’ noteworthy improvisations. With strong melodic motifs and almost every extended solo accompanied by new forms or themes, Barber’s music strikes the rare balance of maintaining a clear emotional through-line while still providing each soloist a fresh foundation on which to build. The name “Vision Ahead” holds deep personal significance to Barber, as suggested in the occasional lyrics throughout the record, but it’s immediately clear that this is the sound of now.

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