The passing of the great jazz Barbara Morrison shocked and saddened the international music world. Her death was announced on March 15 in Los Angeles. She was 72 years old.
Morrison was popular all over the world and played with some of the biggest names in jazz history. She is also the founder of the Barbara Morrison Center for the Performing Arts in Leimert Park in South Los Angeles.
A native of Ypsilanti, Michigan, Morrison first appeared at the age of 10 on a Detroit radio station. At the age of 23, she moved to LA, where she sang with the band led by Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson. For the next 20+ years, she recorded albums with renowned band leader Johnny Otis.
In the course of his 60-year career, Morrison has performed with a number of leading artists in the world of jazz and blues. The list includes legends such as Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, Etta James, Esther Phillips, David T. Walker, Jimmy Smith, Johnny Otis, Kenny Burrell, Terence Blanchard, Nancy Wilson, Mel Torme, Tony Bennett and Keb Mo.
Morrison also toured with the Count Basie Orchestra, the Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra, the Philip Morris Super Band, and Doc Severinsen’s Big Band. She has often been hired on multi-city tours in Canada, Australia and Japan, as well as in the Philippines and major cities in the United States. In 1995, she joined Stevie Wonder, Chuck Hahn, Dion Warwick and other top artists for a television tribute to Ella Fitzgerald.
Morrison’s funeral arrangements were pending in the press.
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