Joel Barford is a 25 year old freelance professional drummer based in London. Joel is known for playing for a variety of projects such as the Nigel Price Organ Trio, Louis Dowdeswell Big Band, Alfie Boe, Ronnie Scott's Jazz Orchestra, Anthony Strong, Jo Harrop, Callum Au, Marshall Gilkes, Jim Mullen, Laurence Cottle, Ian Livingstone, Tom Seals, Chris Montague, Trish Clowes, Alessio Menconi, The Filthy Six, Alex Garnett, Andrew McCormack, Alex Hitchcock, National Youth Jazz Orchestra, CC Smugglers, Greg Coulson, Ashton Jones, Scarlet Pines, Dave O'Higgins, Lucy Merrilyn, Big Daddy Wilson, Liane Carroll and many more.
Current projects include Nigel Price Organ Trio, Louis Dowdeswell, Alfie Boe, Anthony Strong & Trish Clowes - My Iris.
Joel started having drum lessons in Northamptonshire with local teacher Terry Mitchell in 2004 at the age of 7. Terry taught him a wide range of techniques from a young age such as how to read music, technique, how to play a wide variety of genres to a professional standard and lots more. He completed all grades with Terry, starting from debut grade all the way to passing his grade 8 at the age of 13 at which point, Joel moved on to having lessons with various drummers in London and overseas.
Joel has been playing in big bands since aged 10. He was a student at Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust for 6 years between the ages of 10-16. It was during these years Joel experienced playing live for the first time in theatres across the county.
In 2015, Joel joined the already well established new roots band CC Smugglers after auditioning at the age of 17. In the summer of 2016, he ventured on his first European tour playing some of Europe's iconic venues and biggest festivals. Including Rock Wertcher (BE), North Sea Jazz Festival (NL), Colours of Ostrava (CZ), Bospop Weert (NL) Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival (UK),INDIEPENDENCE Music & Arts Festival (Cork, Ireland) Latitude Festival (UK), Ladná Čeladná 2016 (CZ) and TW Classic (BE) where they opened for Bruce Springsteen and played to Joel's biggest audience to date, 65,000.
"Joel is a rare type of musician. There are people that are gifted, that are lucky enough to discover it early in life and then way less who apply the degree of passion, dedication and work ethic to it as Joel does. That's still not why I love his playing. I get fascinated by his way of making tradition sound fresh, his way of making impossible things seem easy, the way he expresses himself on his instrument. You will definitely hear a lot of this young man in the future. And I can't wait myself."
"Joel Barford. He’s an amazing young drummer who you probably already know about. He has an amazing sense of swing and instinct for bebop. I reckon he will definitely be someone we all know about soon."
"Is it reasonable to say that Elvin Jones can be heard in the playing of a British 20-year-old? Yes." -
London Jazz News 2018