Barbara Morrison
Adjunct Assoc. Professor, Global Jazz Studies

Jazz Vocals

Originally from Detroit, Barbara Morrison’s twenty-year career as a performer and recording artist includes appearances worldwide with some of the greatest names in jazz: Ray Brown, Kenny Burrell, Ron Carter, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy Collette, Joe Williams, Gerald Wiggins, Jimmy Witherspoon, Hank Crawford, Eddie Harris, Nancy Wilson, David T. Walker and Jimmy Smith.

She has performed in such highly regarded venues as Carnegie Hall, the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Bern Jazz Festival and the Playboy Jazz Festival. Morrison also toured Europe with Ray Charles.

Morrison seems equally at home in a broad range of idioms, from pop to R&B to the blues, but the blues is unquestionably her forte. Morrison has been compared to some of the greatest female jazz and blues singers. Her singing has been described as “soul stirring, sizzling,” her style, “graceful,” her pacing, “flawless.” The New York Times stated, “A joy, at Carnegie Hall, Barbara Morrison delivered one song a la Esther Phillips and another with Ella Fitzgerald’s blithe scat singing.”

In addition to teaching at UCLA, Morrison is teacher, founder and director of her own school of music in Inglewood, California, teaching beginning to advanced music, jazz/blues interpretation and history, acting and concert performing techniques. She has also worked closely with the late Dr. Beverly Robinson of the UCLA Theater Department, on productions of “For Colored Girls” and “Ain’t Misbehavin’.”

Morrison also toured Europe with Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy Collette, Joe Williams, Gerald Wiggins, Jimmy Witherspoon, Hank Crawford, Eddie Harris, Nancy Wilson, David T. Walker and Jimmy Smith. She has performed in such highly regarded venues as Carnegie Hall, the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Bern Jazz Festival and the Playboy Jazz Festival. Morrison also toured Europe with Ray Charles.

Photo courtesy of the Levitt Foundation. Photo credit: Farah Sosa

Jazz professor Barbara Morrison interviewed by the LA Times
“Sitting in the hall that she operates in Leimert Park on a recent afternoon, Barbara Morrison is uncharacteristically sedentary. She recently lost a leg to diabetes. While she speaks with

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