Pat Labarbera, saxophonist, flutist, clarinetist, composer, jazz educator was born in Mt. Morris, New York and spent the first thirty years of his life in the United States before moving to Toronto in 1974. His father taught the basics of music to Pat and his two younger brothers, John (a gifted arranger/trumpeter) and Joe (a highly accomplished drummer). He studied at the famed Berklee College of Music, and soon after graduating, began to make his presence felt with the best of the American big bands.
By the time he relocated to Toronto, Ontario, Canada 1974, Pat LaBarbera was already well-known for his solo work with the bands of Louis Bellson, Woody Herman, and for seven years, touring and recording as featured tenor saxophone soloist with the Buddy Rich Band throughout every major city in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Universally considered one of the world’s most exciting saxophonists.
LaBarbera has performed and recorded consistently with Elvin Jones since 1975, appearing at premier jazz festivals all over the world. After a brief hiatus, he rejoined Elvin Jones’ ‘Time Machine’ in 2001 to perform and tour North America, Britain. Europe, and Japan for the next two years. Describing LaBarbera’s phenomenal talent, Elvin Jones said, “Pat has tremendous musical ability beyond technical facility. He has great power of concentration to detail and is totally committed with body and soul.”
LaBarbera has played on every major network television show including The Ed Sullivan Show and Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show several times. He has worked with the biggest entertainers in the business including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Chick Corea, Woody Shaw, and McCoy Tyner.
Pat LaBarbera has been among the key members of the Toronto jazz scene for the past three-plus decades, claiming Junos and ‘Jazz Report’ Awards for writing and performing with his own jazz ensembles all along the way. He has been on the full-time teaching faculty at Humber College for the past several years instructing on Saxophone, Ensemble Performance, Jazz Repertoire Development, and Advanced Jazz Theory and Performance. His album, Deep in a Dream, won the 2000 Juno Award for Best Mainstream Jazz Album.
His album, Deep in a Dream, won the 2000 Juno Award for Best Mainstream Jazz Album. His album, Crossing the Line, features pianist Brian Dickinson and bassist Neil Swainson, as well as special guests trumpeter Randy Brecker and drummer Joe LaBarbera.
In 2013, Pat and pianist Don Thompson released A Little SImple Magic, a duo recording featuring twelve standards.