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Barbara MorrisonJazz & Blues Legend Barbara Morrison Gets Set For A Star-Studded 60th Birthday Celebration
By Brandon I. Brooks
Sentinel Entertainment Editor
Celebrating her 60th birthday along with her 35th anniversary in show business, legendary jazz and blues vocalist Barbara Morrison is hosting an exclusive concert event on Saturday, September 12th at the John Anson Ford Theatre located at 2580 Cuhenga Blvd. East, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00p.m.
Directed by Gloria Hendry, the concert will feature special guests Tierney Sutton, Gerald Wilson and a surprise appearance by a legendary sax musician. Other artists scheduled to appear include noted performers Ernie Andrews, Wycliff Gordon, and a coterie of top LA jazz musicians all celebrating 60th birthdays.
Barbara Morrisonâ€™s career has been iconic to say the least.Â She has performed and recorded with some of the most influential figures in jazz and blues, including legends Dizzy Gillespie, James Moody, Ron Carter, Etta James, Esther Phillips, David T. Walker, Jimmy Smith, Ray Brown, Johnny Otis, Dr. John, Kenny Burrell, Terence Blanchard, Joe Sample, Cedar Walton, Nancy Wilson, Mel Torme, Joe Williams, Tony Bennett, and Keb' Mo (Kevin Moore).
Now at the height of her powers, Morrison has clearly redefined the role of the jazz and blues vocalist within the jazz idiom. Â Standing apart from the styles of her contemporaries, Morrison has seduced generations of fans and fellow musicians with her melodic, two-and-a-half-octave voice. Her tone is perfectly suited for slow ballads, yet she handles up-tempo swinging blues and jazz songs with the utmost ease.
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The Sentinel recently caught up with the jazz and blues legend while she was touring overseas.Â Here Morrison talks about her star studded 60th birthday celebration along with her 35th anniversary concert event.Â Â
Sentinel: So tell me, what does your 35 years in show business symbolize? What does your 60th birthday mean to you personally?Â
Barbara Morrison: To get to my 35th year, it has a double meaning.Â I am the oldest living person in my family. To reach 60 years old is quite a coup for a Morrison.
Sentinel: Your voice is beautiful.Â How do you exercise your voice and keep your voice so youthful in sound?Â
BM: I try to hang around young people like you Brandon (laughs) to keep myself in shape.Â Iâ€™m pretty active.Â I teach at UCLA also, I teach voice.Â That keeps me pretty young, really with the kids you know.Â
Sentinel: And I see you have been teaching for over 13 years.Â Tell me about that experience and do you really enjoy teaching?Â Tell me about your experience as a teacher and what that means to you?
BM: I think I am more of a learner.Â These kids are so smart.Â Â The information highway is open to so many people and so many different things that I get a chance to learn.Â And my experience with the students that I do have is a learning experience for me.Â But I have some brilliant students and each year we get a champion.Â Somebody that wins the Thelonius Monk Award or somebody that gets a scholarship to a higher learning Â Â institution, itâ€™s so rewarding to me.Â
Sentinel: You travel often as you are out of the country as we speak.Â Tell me where you are right now?
BM: I am in Scotland right now. Â
Sentinel: Tell me about that (Scotland) and your experience right now on this trip?
BM: Iâ€™m teaching at the University.Â Â I have seven students.Â I am working on the â€œFringeâ€, which is the biggest festival in the world.Â Itâ€™s really rewarding because I see people here from the United States.Â You know a lot of the A actors and the B actors in movies and stuff.Â So I get to hang out with a different kind of people.Â
Sentinel: You have traveled the world with your musical talent, as we approach your 60th birthday and your 35th anniversary celebration, what has been one of your more memorable experiences or maybe a couple that have stood out that really have kept you pushing throughout this journey of a career?Â
BM:Â Well I tell you, meeting Ella Fitzgerald was the big highlight in my life.Â Â Going on tour with some of the jazz giants, Jimmy Smith and James Moody.Â James Moody will be on the festival with me and my Jazz party.Â Also, working with Kenny Burrell and Gerald Wilson.Â And I also had a chance to do a movie score.Â I scored the Hurricane with Denzel Washington.Â That was quite a highlight for me.Â
Sentinel:Â Is there any other opportunities or things coming up that we should be aware of or on the horizon?Â I know you are trailblazing every year.Â Are there any soundtracks or television opportunities we should expect to see you participate on?
BM: I have a new CD coming in two weeks.Â Itâ€™s called â€œBy Requestâ€ and itâ€™s all the songs that people like to hear me sing.Â My faithful followers.
Sentinel:Â Is there anything you would like to tell the L.A. audience while you have the opportunity?Â
BM: Â Thank you for your support L.A. and let me know if you need me.Â
For tickets and information on Barbara Morrisonâ€™s 60th birthday celebration and her 35th anniversary concert event please call 310-462-1439 or visit http://www.barbaramorrison.com.