Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Morrison, Barbara, singer, educator, songwriter; b. Ypsilanti, MI, 10 September 1949. Grew up in Detroit and Romulus with parents Robert (singer and piano player) and Odeser (singer). She has three brothers, two played instruments: Robert - trumpet and Michael - saxophone. Richard, her third brother, is a wrestler. She has two sisters who played clarinet, Pamela and Aremetta.
Barbara studied piano at age 7 with Mrs. Thomas of Romulus, MI. and started singing regularly at age 10 in the church choir and on the radio shows in Inkster, MI. She did not become professional until 1973 when she moved to Los Angeles, CA. after attending several colleges starting with Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti in 1967. She has also studied acting at El Camino College and Cerritos College both in California. From 1973 until present she has performed in concert on major festival throughout the world with a list of who's who is jazz. She is quite popular with the big bands of today and has worked with almost every major big band in the country including Ray Charles, Doc Severinsen, Count Basie, Clayton-Hamilton, Duffy Jackson, and Bill Liston. She has also worked with college big bands throughout the country. She has performed with the San Juan Capistrano, Buffalo and Phoenix Symphony. She has also recorded with some of the jazz and blues greats and has quite a list of CD's on her own Blue Lady Record label. www.barbaramorrison.com. She joined the staff at UCLA in Southern California in 1995 as an adjunct professor in the Ethnomusicology Department where she is still employed today. In 1998 she founded Y. E. S., Inc. (Young Educated Singers, Inc.) a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of jazz and blues through singing. This organization gives scholarships to students from elementary to high school levels to study jazz and blues singing at an institution or with a master.