2020 Biamp PDX Jazz Festival presents Jonathan Barber & Vision Ahead
February 29 | 8:00 pm- $20
This event is 21+.
Jonathan Barber & Vision Ahead is an ascendant New York jazz quintet led by Modern Drummer magazine’s Best Up-and-Coming Drummer of 2018. Only 29 years old, Mr. Barber has already worked with artists such as Pat Metheny, Nicholas Payton, Buster Williams, Kenny Barron, Jeremy Pelt, Jimmy Greene, J.D. Allen, Harold Mabern, Larry Willis, Steve Davis, The Brooklyn Philharmonic and Erykah Badu. Now, he’s stepping out in full force as a bandleader. DownBeat magazine calls Vision Ahead’s self-titled debut album Barber’s “greatest accomplishment to date,” 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 piano, Vision Ahead offers a fresh blend of classic jazz with elements of gospel, rock, soul and fusion that’s 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 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. Barber is the main composer but each bandmate contributes compositions and arrangements. 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 group has performed at The Jazz Standard, BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Scullers, Smalls, Dizzy’s, Rockwood Music Hall, Smoke, The Cell, Minton’s Playhouse, Black Eyed Sally’s, The Side Door and other notable venues. In 2018 the band headlined the Rainy Days Festival held in St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia. The name “Vision Ahead” holds deep personal significance to Barber, as suggested in the occasional lyrics throughout the band’s self-titled album, but it’s immediately clear that this is the sound of now.