Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
London, Barbara (Marie)
London, Barbara (Marie), flutist, pianist, vocalist, composer, educator, author; b. Houlton, Maine, 3 December 1948. Her father was Herbert Roger London (b.Hodgdon, ME 1920- d. 2002) and her mother is Louise Lowry London (b. Monticello, ME 1924-). Louise sang throughout her life in choirs/choruses and currently plays harmonica in an all-women's band. Barbara's brother, John Roger London, was born in Houlton, ME 1953, passed away January 1, 2002.
Barbara studied piano with Philip Cafarella from c.1954 to 1966, winning competitions. She added the flute in 1957, taking lessons in Houlton public schools. She attended University of New Hampshire, graduating summa cum laude in 1970 with a degree in Zoology (premed) and a minor in Music. After graduation, she studied flute with Hubert Laws in the early 1970s, voice with Pat Stedry, and composition with John Heiss in the early 90s. While in college she played with "Children of the Morning" in New England and Toronto.
In 1968-9, she started the band "Middle Earth" with guitarist Ed Corey and later, drummer Dick Willis and bassist Dick Biscornet. The group played in Northeast clubs and colleges/schools. After graduation, Barbara was involved full-time with the fusion group "Morning Sky" (with guitarist John Maguire, electric bassist John Hunter, and drummer Ernie Stableford). Morning Sky played throughout New England and New Jersey including Michaelis Pub and Pooh's Pub in Boston, the Stone Church in Newmarket, NH, The Square Rigger in W.Stockbridge, MA, Mad Murphy's in Hartford, Conn., and Richardis Lounge in Lakewood, New Jersey. There was a feature article on the group in Jazz New England (c.1975) and they appeared on WUNH out of Durham, NH.
From approximately 1979-82, Barbara worked out of NJ and NYC as a member of Aerial with Nina Sheldon (piano), Jane Ira Bloom (saxes), Carline Ray (bass, vocals) and Barbara Merjan (drums). The group was reviewed favorably in the Kansas City Star, Downbeat, and New York Times and performed at the Kansas City Womenis Jazz Festival, at Carnegie Recital Hall, at the Philadelphia NAJE Convention, at the Newport Jazz Festival on 52nd St. in NYC, and in Detroit with Terri Lyne Carrington and various colleges and clubs. Concurrently, Barbara was active in Cobi Narita's Universal Jazz Coalition performing in concerts at Lincoln Center Plaza and at the Jazz Gallery and NYC clubs. She performed with Joe Newman at Sweet Basil, with Richard Davis and Cecil McBee and in art shows at the United Nations and Avery Fisher Hall. She was a guest artist at Birch Creek Farm in Wisconsin and played with Marian McPartland in Chicago.
In 1982 Barbara, returned to NH where she married bassist John Hunter (they were later divorced) and began the Barbara London Quartet. The quartet featuring Barbara (fl. pno. vo), Charlie Jennison (saxes, piano), John Hunter, (bass), and Bill reeve (drums) played concerts and colleges throughout New England and in New York. She began her own production company and produced several recordings. The Barbara London
Quartet currently features Larry Baione (guitar), John Lockwood (bass) and Rick Kress (drums).
London has composed approximately 100 compositions which include many jazz tunes and several classical works for piano, flute, and acoustic bass. She has produced several recordings of her original compositions. Norwegian classical bassist, Knut Guettler recorded her piece "Almost Spring" on the Japanese Camerata label.
As an educator, Barbara has been active as a clinician in public schools in New England and at Colleges throughout the US, including Eastern New Mexico University, University of Wisconsin at Green Bay and Madison, Universities of Maine, New York, New Hampshire, etc. From 1982-1986 she taught ensembles and voice at the University of Maine, Augusta. In 1986 she began teaching harmony, jazz composition, and ensembles at Berklee College of Music. In 1994, she became the first female chair at Berklee. She currently manages a large core department of over 50 teachers and oversees approx. 175 sections of harmony classes a semester. She has presented a paper at a music theory congress (verniging voor Musiktheorie) in Holland (1999) which was included in the journal, "Tijdschrift voor Muziektheorie" November 1999. She has written 2 workbooks (Study Supplement for Harmony 1 and 2, Study Supplement for Harmony 3 and 4), and co-created a course on the blues with Berklee colleague, Bruce Katz.
Northern Portrait (1982); Solitude (1983); Flat Out Dreaming (1988); Natural Progression (1994); Perrault, London, MacDougall: Before You Go (1997); Two and Threes (1999)
Morning Sky: Sea of Dreams (1976)Susan Joy: Like A Bird (1977); D. W. Griffiths: Jersey Tomatoes (1980); Knut Guettler: Miracle Contrabass (composition only) (1981); Doia: Companions of the Crimson Colored Ark (1984); John Perrault: Tenants in Common (c.1988); Jim McDougall: Raya del sol (c. 1992); Funky Divas of Gospel: When I Cross Over (1999-2000)
Several unissued tapes and/or video-tapes with various artists in a variety of styles including Richard Davis, Joe Newman, Phil Wilson,Tommy Campbell, Bill Pierce, Nina Sheldon, Jane Ira Bloom, Carline Ray, Barbara Merjan, David Darling, John Hunter, John Perrault, Jim MacDougall, Charlie Jennison, Michael Farquharson, Bruce Katz, Rick Kress, Larry Baione, John Lockwood, Catherine Birrer and others.
TV shows include NH public television of Morning Sky (WUNH-c.1975), live broadcasts of Barbara London Quartet at Portsmouth Jazz Festival on NHPTV and NH Cable shows. In addition she has been videotaped (unreleased) by Raymond Ross in concerts featuring her Quartet with special guest, Joe Newman, at St. Peteris Church as officiated by Rev. John Gensel.
Feature articles in: University of NH Magazine, Fall 2002, P.55
The Union Leader, 4/17/1997 iA Mixed Bag of Musical Causes...Perrault, London, and MacDougalli
Downbeat: Voted iTalent Deserving Wider Recognitioni c.1979
Jazz New England c.1975 iThe Radiance of Morning Skyi
Many short features and/or reviews in the Boston Globe, New York Times,
Kansas City Star, Portsmouth Herald, etc.
Books: Jazz Women at the Keyboard by Mary Unterbrink, feature on P. 157
Stormy Weather, by Linda Dahl, P. 184
Barbara has been awarded three National Endowment for the Arts grants for jazz performance (1986, 1988, 1990). Each of the grants allowed her to produce 5 concerts of her original compositions in New England and in NYC. She also received a New Hampshire State Council for the Arts Fellowship and a Meet the Composer grant and numerous touring roster grants from the New England Foundation for the Arts, the NH State Council for the Arts and the Maine Commission for the Arts.