Joel Barford is a 25  year old freelance professional drummer based in London. Joel is known for playing  for a variety of people such as the Nigel Price Organ Trio, Louis Dowdeswell Big Band, Ronnie Scott's Jazz Orchestra, Anthony Strong, Jo Harrop, Callum Au, Marshall Gilkes, Jim Mullen, Laurence Cottle, Ian Livingstone, Tom Seals, Chris Montague, Alessio Menconi, 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, Anthony Strong & Jo Harrop.

At the age of 7 Joel started drum lessons with the great Terry Mitchell.  Terry taught him a 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 did all grades with Terry, starting from debut grade all the way to passing my grade 8 at the age of 13.  After this Joel moved on to having lessons with various drummers in London.
Joel started has been playing in big bands since the age of 10. He was a member of Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust for 6 years between the ages of 10-16.  Throughout his time at NMPAT he played for all 3 of their big bands:  Jazz 3, Jazz 2, and the Northamptonshire County Youth Big Band (CYBigB).  He rehearsed with them once a week along with regular performances at theatres throughout Northamptonshire.


"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."

Benny Greb


At the age of 16, Joel decided to join the National Youth Jazz Orchestra Academy Big Band, otherwise known as 'NYJO 2'.  He travelled to London every Saturday to rehearse. NYJO are known for their challenging charts and their top-notch performances.  Joel was a member of this band for just over a year but had to stop going due to other music related commitments but often  deps for the main NYJO band and to teach as an ambassador.


Joel also has a history playing other genres of music such as pop, rock and blues. Often, Joel has plays for singers such as Liane Carroll, Anthony Strong, Tom Seals, Lucy Merrilyn, Greg Coulson and more.

In 2015, Joel joined the already well established band CC SMUGGLERS. He was invited to audition and was given the gig at the age of 17.  In the summer of 2016, he embarked  upon his first European tour playing some of Europe's iconic venues and biggest festivals.  Including North Sea Jazz Festival (Netherlands), Colours of Ostrava (Czech Republic), Bospop Weert (Netherlands) Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival (UK),INDIEPENDENCE Music & Arts Festival (Cork, Ireland) Latitude Festival(UK), Ladná Čeladná 2016 (Czech Republic) and TW Classic in Belgium where they opened for Bruce Springsteen.  "TW Classic was a big step up in my career as we opened for some of the worlds biggest artists like Simply Red, Lionel Richie, Lana Del Rey and the headliner Bruce Springsteen. If that wasn't enough, this whole show was to 65,000 people! The single 'RHYTHM' got play-listed on BBC Radio 2. I came to a decision to leave CC Smugglers in September 2016 as I felt it was time to peruse my freelance career."

 "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

 Joel spends most of his time playing, recording and touring with the award winning Nigel Price Organ Trio. The studio album 'Wes Reimagined' was released in June 2021 on Ubuntu Music. This is one of Joel's proudest moments and loves being part of such an amazing and fulfilling project.

Most recently, He has taken on the role of the new drummer for the formidable Louis Dowdeswell Big Band. The band currently holds the record for being the most viewed big band on YouTube.

Joel endorses Gretsch Drums, Zildjian Cymbals and Vic Firth Sticks