Joel Barford is a 24 year old freelance drummer based in London.  Joel is a freelance professional drummer that has played for/with a variety of people such as the Nigel Price Organ Trio, Ross Stanley, Chris Montague, Alex Garnett, Ant Law, Sam Leak, Alex Hitchcock, Tom Seals, National Youth Jazz Orchestra, CC Smugglers, Greg Coulson, Dave Swift, Derek Nash, Dave O'Higgins, John Etheridge, Lucy Merrilyn, Alex Ridout, Pete Long, Liane Carroll and many more.  Joel has played established venues and festivals such as Ronnie Scott's, Pizza Express Jazz Club, Vortex Jazz Club, 606 Jazz Club, North Sea Jazz Festival, London Jazz Festival, Cambridge Jazz Festival and more across UK and Europe.

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."

"Joel is not only a great player, but one of the most versatile drummers I've worked with.  He's a real professional and always a pleasure to work with." Beau Holland

 "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

"Over the years I have been lucky enough to have my own late shows at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London in co-operatrion with the great Alex Garnett. I would bring a band of my choosing and the night would be under my name. In the past I have bought quintets and quartets of my choosing. The latest line up was Ross Stanley on hammond organ, Nick Costley-White on guitar and my brother Tom Barford on tenor sax in February 2020."
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.

Joel endorses Vic Firth sticks, Zildjian cymbals and Canopus Drums

"Joel is one of the best drummers I've had the pleasure of playing with.  He plays like a pro with 40+ years of experience...definitely one to watch out for!" Greg Coulson