Roland Barber has performed with an impressively diverse list of artists including Chaka Khan, Duke Ellington Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center, Kirk Whalum, the Wooten Brothers, the Chico O’Farill Orchestra, Robin Thicke, the Temptations, Manny Oquendo y Libre and the NBC Saturday Night Live Band. He’s performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Birdland, the Blue Note, the Beacon Theater, Lincoln Center, the Copacabana, the Kennedy Center, and Madison Square Garden.
In terms of influencing his distinct jazz style - Along with jazz master J. J. Johnson, Roland credits Steve Turre, and Al Grey as his “Big Three", the most significant contributors to his contemporary style of jazz trombone. Also having a deep impact on Roland’s style is the joy of connecting to listeners through a vocal concept to the instrument, embodied by masters such as Clark Terry and Al Grey. Roland also believes in drawing on the strength of an ensemble and community to create music, modeled by Duke, Count, Blakey, and so many of the great soloist-infused big bands and small groups of the post Bop era.
Finally, developing and sharing music with twin brother/saxophonist Rahsaan Barber has had a profound impact on Roland’s development, most easily perceived in his formidable technique, wide stylistic vocabulary, and an awareness and affinity for the music of saxophonists Dexter Gordon, Stanley Turrentine, and John Coltrane. This pairing produced the album "Twinnovation," which put the Barber Brothers on the map in the national jazz scene.
Roland has also gained much acclaim as a composer and arranger. In 2007 he was awarded a prestigious grant from Chamber Music America which funded the composition and premieres of his original suite entitled: Songs of the Village. This work saw its world premier at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Dizzy's Club in NYC.
Roland is quite active as a teacher and educator of musicians from all walks of life. Besides being motivated by a love to teach, Roland has attended virtually every major jazz educational classroom in the country. Roland has taught private study of trombone, jazz history, big band, and jazz improvisation in Manhattan School of Music’s Pre-College Program for NY area’s talented youngsters.
Roland is available for master classes, lessons and lectures on many topics including technical challenges of the trombone, equipment, arranging and composing, ensemble interaction, stylistic development, and incorporating the historic styles/performers/eras of jazz past.