Remembering Barbara Morrison

September 10, 1949 – March 16, 2022

 

A tribute to the beloved jazz and blues singer

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Singer Barbara Morrison passed away on March 16, 2002 at the age of 72.

She was born on Sept. 10, 1949 in Ypsilanti, Michigan, growing up in nearby Romulus.

Morrison began singing at an early age, appearing on Detroit radio when she was ten.

She moved to Los Angeles in 1971 when she was 21 and became an important fixture in the local scene both as a singer and as one who encouraged and booked other performers.

Morrison worked with Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, the Johnny Otis show, Ray Charles (touring Europe with him), and with a variety of big bands and all-star combos.

Morrison always kept busy, recording often and performing at many Southern California venues in addition to the Monterey, Montreux and North Sea jazz festivals.

She opened the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center and the California Jazz & Blues Museum in Leimert Park Village, always educating and cheering on younger performers.

Her warm voice, enthusiastic delivery, and soulful style made her a regular crowd pleaser, one who could steal the show from practically anyone.

Here is Barbara Morrison in 2019 performing “This Masquerade” and “Things Ain’t What They Used To Be” with a fine group that includes Billy Mitchell on piano.

-Scott Yanow

 

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