Photo by Sarah Diaz
September 10, 1949 (age 68)|
Ypsilanti, Michigan, U.S.
|Associated acts||Ella Fitzgerald|
Barbara Morrison (born September 10, 1949) is an American singer of jazz music. Well known in the Los Angeles area for her duo and trio dates, Ms. Morrison also tours extensively across the Continental United States, Western Europe the Far East and "Down Under", along with her band.
Born in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and raised in Romulus, Michigan, Barbara Morrison recorded her first appearance for radio in Detroit at the age of 10. She moved to Los Angeles in 1973, at the age of 23, and sang with Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson's band. Between the mid-1970s and early 1990s, she recorded several albums with Johnny Otis.
In 1986, Morrison toured with the Philip Morris Superband, completing a 14-city one-month tour of Canada, Australia, Japan, and the Philippines, playing with jazz organist Jimmy Smith and backed by saxophonist James Moody, guitarist Kenny Burrell, trumpeter Jon Faddis, and Grady Tate on drums. Morrison also completed a 33-city tour in the US, co-headlining in an all-star tribute to composer Harold Arlen (known for the music for the classic film, The Wizard of Oz). In 1995, Morrison appeared in a televised Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, with Mel Tormé, Diane Reeves, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Tony Bennett, Dionne Warwick, and Lou Rawls. Over the years she has performed with many renowned jazz and blues musicians, including legends such as Gerald Wilson, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, James Moody, Ron Carter, Etta James, Esther Phillips, David T. Walker, Jimmy Smith, Dr. John, Kenny Burrell, Terence Blanchard, Joe Sample, Cedar Walton, Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, Tony Bennett, and Keb' Mo. Morrison has also guest-starred with the Count Basie Orchestra, the Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra and Doc Severinsen's Big Band. Morrison also performs many well-known blues and jazz festivals around the world. Her appearances include Montreux, Nice, Pori, Carnegie Hall, North Sea, Darling Harbour, Sydney Opera House, Australia, Monterey, Long Beach, as well as salutes to Dizzy Gillespie and her tribute to Benny Golson. More recently, beginning in 2011, Morrison has been performing with Jack Hale, a popular Southern California guitarist, arranger, and band leader of both cool and hot vintage jazz and swing styles from the 1920s through the 1950s. Since 2014 Barbara has been performing with a hot swing group, "Bobby Barron and His Swing Thing Band"-throughout southern California. mostly in the swing dance circuit.
The Barbara Morrison Performance Arts Center, located in Los Angeles, supports the Harmony Project, which helps children encounter music in an after-school program.
Morrison is known for a melodic voice and a three-and-a-half-octave range. She interprets a familiar jazz and blues classics repertoire in a unique style, and also sings original contemporary tunes. One example of her original music is "I Wanna Be Loved", co-written with Michael Cormier, which is a musical theatre production about the life and times of Dinah Washington, Queen of the Blues.
- Doing All Right (Aris/Mons, 1993)
- Blues For Ella: Live (with the Thilo Berg Big Band) (Mons, 1995)
- I'm Gettin' 'Long All Right (Chartmaker, 1997)
- I Know How To Do It (Chartmaker, 1998)
- Visit Me (Chartmaker, 1999)
- Ooh-Shoobie-Doo! (with Johnny Otis & his band) (J & T, 2000)
- Live Down Under (Blue Lady, 2000)
- Thinking Of You, Joe (Blue Lady, 2002) -note: this is Barbara's special tribute to the great jazz vocalist, Joe Williams.
- Live At The 9:20 Special (with Danny Caron, Ruth Davies, Charles McNeal, John Haynes, Steve Campos, John R. Burr) (Springboard Productions, 2002)
- Barbara Morrison (Arietta Discs, 2003)
- Live At The Dakota (with Junior Mance, Earl May, Jackie Williams, Houston Person) (Dakota Live, 2005) -note: includes Barbara's signature song, "They Call Me Sundown".
- Double Standards (Blue Lady, 2006)
- Los Angeles, Los Angeles, The City By The Sea (CD single; 2 songs) (Garrison, 2008)
- By Request: Volume One (Fertility, 2011)
- By Request: Volume Two (Fertility, 2011)
- A Sunday Kind Of Love (Savant, 2013)
- I Love You, Yes I Do (Savant, 2014)
- The L.A. Treasures Project: Live At Alvas Showroom (with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra) (Capri, 2014)
- The Road To Love (with Kenny Burrell's quintet) (HighNote, 2015)
- I Wanna Be Loved (featuring Houston Person) (Savant, 2017)
- Prime Time - Jimmy Smith (Milestone, 1989) -note: Barbara is featured on "Farther On Up The Road".
- Swingin' The Blues - Doc Severinsen & His Big Band (Azica, 1999) -note: Barbara sings 3 numbers with Doc's swing group.
- Sweet Spot - Mark Winkler (Cafe Pacific, 2011) -note: Barbara sings a duet with Mark on the title track.
- Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues - A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishers. p. 84. ISBN 978-0313344237.
- Kirk Silsbee, "This time, it's Barbara Morrison's turn for a favor", Los Angeles Times, September 10, 2011.