Pat LaBarbera is a Toronto based saxophonist, composer, and educator. He began his career in 1967 playing with Buddy Rich's band and occasionally with Woody Herman before moving to Toronto in 1974. Starting in 1975 LaBarbera began working with Elvin Jones and maintained a decades long association with him. As leader, LaBarbera has recorded over 10 albums and performs frequently with his own jazz ensembles in and around Toronto. He is also a dedicated educator and has taught at Humber College, York University, and the University of Toronto, as well as various summer jazz programs.
Pat LaBarbera won a Juno Award in 2000 for Best Traditional Instrumental Jazz Album for his album "Deep in a Dream." Pat LaBarbera wrote a monthly column for "Canadian Musician" magazine from 1980-1984. Pat LaBarbera's first experience improvising came as a child while playing in a talent contest; he lost his place on the page and seamlessly improvised his part.
Born in Mt. Morris, New York in 1944, Pascel Emmanuel (Pat) LaBarbera grew up in a musical household. His father began teaching Pat and his younger brothers, trumpeter/arranger John LaBarbera and drummer Joe LaBarbera, music at an early age. By the time he was 8 years old, Pat was already performing with the family band at weddings, shows, and competitions, showcasing their skills in traditional Italian music and 1950s popular tunes. LaBarbera became interested in jazz during high school and went on to study music at Berklee College from 1964 to 1967. He left Berklee in 1967 to embark on a tour with the legendary drummer Buddy Rich.