Life and work
Barker began twelve years playing the trumpet and played a year later in the British National Youth Jazz Orchestra. After lessons from Clark Terry in 1975 Barker worked in the 1980s with John Dankworth, Gil Evans ( with whose orchestra he toured in 1983 and participated in recordings), Lena Horne and Bobby Watson.
From 1984 to 1992 Barker was a member of Clark Tracey Quintet and also played with Stan Tracey's father and John Surmans Brass Project belonged to. As a busy sideman he worked in the 1990s on numerous recordings, as in the Dedication Orchestra, Ornette Coleman, Carla Bley, Georgie Fame, James Carter, Mike Westbrook, Frank Sinatra, Tommy Smith, Colin Towns, as well as the bands ABC, The The, Erasure, Chris Botti, Wham!, Alphaville, The Moody Blues and Jazz Jamaica Allstars, also with Sting, Chris Hunter, Mike Oldfield, Cleo Laine, Acoustic Alchemy and XTC.
Since the early 1990s, Barker directs his own ensembles in which he worked with Denys Baptiste, Perico Sambeat, Bernardo Sassetti, Frank Ricotti, Chris Laurence, Geoff Gascoyne and Gene Calderazzo and for which he wrote his own compositions. In 1991, for the label Spotlite Album Is not It? ; since he took on, among others, for Verve Records.