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by Scott Jared

This excerpt was published as part of the full article “Roll out the welcome mat” on The Well, Monday, August 3rd, 2020.

Their interests range from neurodegenerative diseases to eating disorders to race, class and gender to playing and teaching jazz saxophone. Meet six of Carolina’s newest faculty members.

Rahsaan Barber
Assistant Professor
Music Department, the College of Arts & Sciences

A versatile performer with a studious approach to music, Barber’s proven teaching style and focus on jazz saxophone will help shape Carolina’s student musicians.

“My journey with UNC started ten years ago in 2010,” Barber said. “My first visit was as a guest performer with the UNC Jazz Festival, led by the great Jim Ketch, ‘captain of the ship’ in the UNC jazz program for over 40 years, who retired last year. I was immediately struck by the students’ level of musicianship, the faculty’s great level of instruction and the area’s culture.”

Rahsaan Barber

Rahsaan Barber

Barber performed and taught at three other Jazz Festivals and collaborated with other UNC system schools. “I couldn’t be more excited to join such a great school and academic network,” he said.

Prior to arriving at Carolina, Barber was an assistant professor of saxophone at Tennessee State University beginning in 2013. In his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, Barber found his first appointment at Belmont University at age 25. He was promoted to full-time instructor for his last three years there.

Barber has taught an array of courses, including improvisation, classical and commercial ensembles and performance seminars.

Since earning a master’s degree in jazz performance from the Manhattan School of Music in 2005, Barber has followed a path of musical excellence in performance, composition, education and entrepreneurship. He records and performs in an ever-expanding range of musical styles, including jazz, blues, funk, classical, fusion, soul, Latin and world music.

Barber’s performances include time onstage with the Temptations, Delfeayo Marsalis, the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Duffy Jackson, Winard Harper, Kirk Franklin and the Wooten Brothers. He has performed on many of the world’s most prestigious stages for music, including The Ryman, The Village Vanguard, Birdland, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center and the Montreux Jazz Festival.

Barber leads his instrumental band Everyday Magic and co-leads Latin-jazz septet El Movimiento, and is creator, bandleader, songwriter and producer for hip-hop, soul band The Megaphones. He has built a reputation as a standout jazz producer on his record label Jazz Music City. The label launched with the release of Everyday Magic, an album featuring Barber’s quintet that was an Editor’s Pick by DownBeat Magazine.

Besides teaching, Barber is completing work toward a doctor of musical arts degree in classical saxophone performance at the University of Memphis. He has presented master classes at educational institutions, including Michigan State University, Belmont University, Lipscomb University, the Nashville Jazz Workshop, Tennessee State University, University of Louisville, University of Memphis and Carolina.

“I draw much inspiration and joy from my work as an educator and mentor to some of the most creative and impressive young minds entering the field of music today, and from my partnerships with amazing musicians and collaborators,” Barber said.

Read the full article and meet the other five new faculty members from around the university here.

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