Thomas Barber

Thomas Barber

Applied Trumpet


Thomas Barber has been active as both a trumpeter and composer since hitting the New York scene in 2004. As a composer, he has written scores for over 20 independent films and TV shows, including the award-winning animated short film Operation: Fish (2006) for director/animator Jeff Riley; two feature documentaries for director Dan Schaefer, Mania (2008) and Kings Of The Road (2009); and the 10-part television series Rip City Stories (2009-2011) about the Portland Trail Blazers for Comcast Sportsnet. He has performed with Paul Simon, Brian Blade, Joe Locke, Steve Wilson, Slide Hampton, Wynton Marsalis, Wycliffe Gordon, Esperanza Spalding, Jimmy Heath, Frank Wess, Carla Cook, Tom Harrell, Nasheet Waits, and many more.

Born in Moscow, Idaho, Thomas regularly attended the local Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival with his family. When he was 4 or 5, he attended a performance by the Ray Brown Trio which left a strong impression. He started piano lessons shortly after, but switched his focus to the trumpet four years later

After he won both the Lionel Hampton High School Trumpet Competition and the International Trumpet Guild Jazz Competition in Gothenborg, Sweden, in 1997, he attended the University of Northern Colorado, graduating with a degree in classical trumpet performance.  While at UNC, Thomas had opportunities to play with many of the musicians who passed through, including Louie Bellson, Pete Fountain, Nicholas Payton, Maria Schneider, Bob Brookmeyer, Conrad Herwig and Kenny Wheeler.  

Thomas currently resides in Portland, Oregon. As a bandleader, he leads his own Portland-based sextet, Spiral Road, which features Barber's original music. Thomas performs regularly in Portland with Darrell Grant, George Colligan, Alan Jones, the Portland Jazz Composer's Ensemble, and tours the country as a member of the soul/ rock/ funk band Dirty Revival.