Barrie Lee Hall, Jr.

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Barrie Lee Hall Jr. (June 30, 1949 – January 24, 2011) was an American trumpeter, music director and band leader of the Duke Ellington Small Band. He was highly regarded for his use of the plunger mute to affect the tone of his trumpet.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born in Mansfield, Louisiana, Hall attended Crispus Attucks middle school and Worthing High School (Houston, Texas). In his biography, Hall relates that Sammy D. Harris, the high school band director "pointed a few of us in the direction of jazz,". Continuing his studies at Texas Southern University, Hall studied piano and trumpet and won soloist awards in big-band competitions. Arnett Cobb soon after discovered him and took Hall to see Ellington. When the two were introduced, Ellington, Hall wrote, asked: "How come you're not playing in my band?"[2]

Ellington band career[edit]

Hall joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra June 8, 1973. When "The Duke" died the following year, Hall continued to play with the band under the direction of Duke's son, Mercer Ellington. When Mercer Ellington died in 1996, Hall conducted the Duke Ellington Orchestra for one year after and remained the replacement director when Paul Ellington was unable to perform. During his time with Mercer, Hall was given Cootie Williams' last trumpet by Williams himself before he died, and was known as the inheritor of Cootie's style of playing.[3]

Other activities[edit]

Hall was, in later life, the music director at Liberty Baptist Church. With a background in gospel music, Hall was able to lead the contemporary project "Duke Ellington’s Third Sacred Concert" in 2001, in which he performed as bandleader with a two hundred-voice choir.[4] Wishing to see more of Ellington's works performed in churches, Hall brought performances to Yugoslavia to an audience of three thousand in a cathedral, with the music broadcast to an audience of ten thousand people outside the church as well.

In the last six years of his life, Hall traveled to Switzerland every April where he was a guest soloist with a big band made up of musicians from the United States (which included Shelley Carrol and Randy Brecker, amongst many others), and in the year before his death, he was the conductor of the youth orchestra.


As a leader[edit]

  • Barrie Lee Hall, Jr.: The Duke Ellington Small Band (M&N Records) 2006

As sideman[edit]

  • Duke Ellington's Third Sacred Concert: Duke Ellington
  • Continuum: Mercer Ellington
  • Take The Holiday Train: Mercer Ellington
  • Hot And Bothered: Mercer Ellington
  • Digital Duke: Grammy Award winner: Mercer Ellington
  • Music Is My Mistress which Barrie Co Produced: Mercer Ellington
  • Sophisticated Ladies: The Cast Album
  • The Lady: Anita Moore
  • Searching For The Truth: Sebastian Whittaker
  • One For Bu: Sebastian Whittaker
  • Echoes Of Harlem: John Dankworth and The Rochester Philharmonic
  • In My Solitude: Cleo Laine And John Dankworth
  • The Cotton Connection: Teresa Brewer And Mercer Ellington
  • Only God Can Make A Tree: The Duke Ellington Orchestra

Projects for the Ellington Orchestra[edit]

  • Orchestrator/Arranger for the Broadway Hit "Sophisticated Ladies"
  • Orchestrator/Arranger for the Jazz Opera "Queenie Pie"
  • Orchestrator/Arranger for the Television production of "The Duke Ellington Special" on PBS. Trumpet and voice duet of the song "Creole Love Call" with Lee playing trumpet and opera star Kathleen Battle singing.

Additional Projects[edit]


  1. ^ "Barrie Hall Jr., Famed Trumpeter, Dies At 61". Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  2. ^ "Barrie Hall Jr.". Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  3. ^ Ellingtonia - A Publication of the Duke Ellington Society, Volume XV, No. 2, February 2007.
  4. ^ "Houston bandmate of Duke Ellington preserving style". Retrieved 26 January 2011. 

External links[edit]