Thurman Barker

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Thurman Barker (born January 8, 1948, Chicago, Illinois) is an American jazz drummer.

Barker's first professional experience was at age sixteen with Mighty Joe Young. Barker took his bachelor's at Empire State College, then studied at the American Conservatory of Music under Harold Jones and at Roosevelt University under Edward Parimba. He next served as an accompanist for Billy Eckstine, Bette Midler, and Marvin Gaye. He was house percussionist at the Schubert Theater in Chicago in the 1960s. In 1968 he joined Joseph Jarman's first ensemble, and soon after became a member of the AACM in its early days. Aside from Jarman, he played in the late 1960s and 1970s with Muhal Richard Abrams, Pheeroan akLaff, Anthony Braxton, Billy Bang, Henry Threadgill, and Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre. He recorded and toured again with Braxton in 1978-80 and with Sam Rivers in 1979-80. In 1985 he played in a trio with Jarman and Rivers, and in 1987 he played marimba with Cecil Taylor.

In the 1990s, Barker concentrated more on composition. His 1994 work Dialogue was premiered at the Merkin Concert Hall in New York City. He composed Expansions (1999) and Time Factor (2000) for the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra. Since 1993 he has been an associate professor at Bard College. In 1999 he was guest professor at the University of St. Petersburg.


As Leader[edit]

  • The Way I Hear It (Uptee, 1999)
  • Voyage (Uptee, 1999)
  • Time factor (Uptee, 2001)
  • Strike Force (Uptee, 2004)

As Sideman[edit]