A Legendary Jazz Singer
Barbara Morrison is a Jazz and Blues Legend. As a Vocalist, she has been featured on two Grammy Award-nominated albums, and for a third Grammy Award-nominated album, Barbara Morrison’s Blue Lady Records served as Producer. A multi-hyphenate, Barbara Morrison is also the Founder of The Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center and Founder and President of the California Jazz & Blues Museum, both located in Leimert Park, CA. Morrison also serves as an Associate Professor of Jazz Studies in the Global/Ethnomusicology Department at UCLA in Westwood, CA. Morrison was born in Ypsilanti, MI and raised in Romulus, MI. She recorded her first appearance on radio in Detroit, MI at the age of 10.
Over the course of her 60-year career, she has performed with a virtual “Who’s Who” of the Jazz and the Blues worlds. That list includes Legends like: Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, James Moody, Ron Carter, Etta James, Esther Phillips, David T. Walker, Jimmy Smith, Johnny Otis, Dr. John, Kenny Burrell, Terence Blanchard, Joe Sample, Cedar Walton, Nancy Wilson, Mel Tormé, Joe Williams, Tony Bennett and Keb’ Mo. Additionally, Morrison has guest starred with the Count Basie Orchestra, The Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra and Doc Severinsen’s Big Band.
Morrison has been featured on over 20 recordings. In 1982, for the 25th Annual Grammy Awards, “Spirit of The Black Territory Bands” (Album) was nominated for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Performance, which featured vocalists Barbara Morrison and Jackie Payne. In 1999, for the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards, Barbara Morrison’s Blue Lady Records produced Al McKibbon’s album, “Tumbao Para Los Congueros De Mi Vida” (“For All the Conga Drummers in My Life”). In 2014, for the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra was nominated for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album, “The L.A. Treasures Project,” featuring vocalists
Barbara Morrison and Ernie Andrews. In 2019, for the Hollywood Music in Media Awards, vocalist Barbara Morrison, along with trumpeter David Longoria, won the Best Jazz category.
Morrison performs in a wide array of genres from traditional Jazz and Blues, to Gospel and Pop. Her melodic voice, with its two-and-a-half-octave range, is known worldwide, as are her rich, unique, soulful and highly spirited interpretations of both, familiar Jazz and Blues classics and original contemporary tunes. Equally as striking is Morrison’s ability to belt out down-home, soul-stirring Blues.
Recently she embarked on a 33-city tour of the United States, co-headlining in an all-star tribute to legendary composer Harold Arlen (most recognizable as the genius behind the music for the classic film, The Wizard of Oz). Morrison is a Music graduate of the Los Angeles City College.
Morrison also performs at renowned Blues and Jazz Festivals around the world, including appearances at Montreux, Nice, Pori, Carnegie Hall, North Sea, Monterey and Long Beach. She also frequently performs her Salute to Dizzy Gillespie and Tribute to Benny Golson.
On October 27, 2020, Morrison will be a featured performer in the Public Relations Society of America’s, ICON 2020 event, “Transforming The Landscape,” an online fundraising concert benefiting the organization’s Multicultural Scholarship Endowment for Diversity and Inclusion.
Barbara Morrison will close out 2020 performing as the Headliner and Ambassador for UCLA’s Closing Centennial Program, Let There Be Imagination, a Viral Event from UCLA’s Royce Hall in Westwood, CA, to be held on Thursday, December 3, 2020.
To learn more about Barbara Morrison and The Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center, please visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/barbaramorrisonpac/
The “Blue Lady”
A true singer with a soul and blues feel she is called "Blue Lady" in her hometown LA and continues to be respected. The co-stars are Yu Ooka, a guitarist who has performed at various festivals based in LA and has sessions such as movies, TV, and radio music, Jaco Pastorius, who has been active in NY for a long time, Masters such as Kenji Hino "JINO." In addition to them, a bassist who co-stars with Herbie Hancock and others, and is also active as live support and producer for many popular artists after returning to Japan. She wants to thoroughly enjoy real pleasure.
Two by NPR as one of the “50 Greatest Jazz Vocalists,” Barbara Morrison has been pleasing audiences and garnering rave reviews for more than three decades. In addition to a long list of her own recordings, she has worked with an A-List. “Who’s Who” in the jazz world. One of the hardest working and busiest jazz and blues entertainers in the business, Barbara Morrison, has an impressive discography of recordings that include three Grammy nominations. It is safe to say that she is among the most recorded jazz and blues artists of her generation.
Barbara Morrison in Sydney Australia
Something is awry with the perceived hierarchy of contemporary jazz singers. As brilliant as they can be, both Kurt Elling and Dianne Reeves turned in modest performances on their most recent tours, albeit within the constraining context of collaborating with the Sydney Symphony.
Cassandra Wilson, the other internationally acclaimed singer of the day, gave a lethargic concert on her only Australian tour a decade ago. Meanwhile, at the Sound Lounge on Friday night, an artist barely known outside Sydney, Tina Harrod, carved the air and cleaved hearts with almost every word of every lyric she sang.
Then there's Barbara Morrison, who always delivers when she comes to town. If the American could not reach Harrod's emotional intensity, she has other strings to her bow. Spinning yarns and sharing jokes, she inhabits a stage like it's her living room, with each audience member a bosom buddy.
She sledgehammers the blues into submission with a voice as big as a church while giving us a wink, some lip, and a jutting hip. She also caresses a ballad with tenderness and superlative musicality, her earthy warmth diluting any.
- By John Shand and reviewer