23
Mon, May

Remembering the legendary Barbara Morrison

Entertainment

Jazz and blues legend Barbara Morrison, a South Los Angeles icon, passes away at the age of 72.

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Photos by Jason Lewis
 

Jazz and blues legend Barbara Morrison, a South Los Angeles icon, passes away at the age of 72.  Morrison celebrated jazz and blues through the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center in Leimert Park where she hosted live concerts and held music classes for children.  She hosted a yearly month-long concert series during April for Jazz Appreciation Month.  The purpose of having nightly shows was to ensure that jazz does not fade away.

“My experience with Barbara was with her support of Parkside Economic Development Agency (Parkside EDC) a 501(c)(3) non-profit with a primary focus on providing scholarships to students in our community.  We have three fundraisers each year, one of which is a summer jazz series in June, July and August.  Barbara always kicked off our series in June and set the tone for the rest of the series. 

Barbara’s energy was unbelievable, and she was one of the performers who consistently sold out every single year.  No matter how many times she performed, her sets were always fresh.  We loved her stories, her wicked sense of humor and of course her phenomenal talent as a performer.  We are located in Leimert Park which was her stomping grounds.  She had a presence in Leimert Park and many people referred to her as the “Mayor of LP” because she brought goodwill to the Village and brought people together whose commonality was love of music.

When Barbara had health challenges, those of us who loved her were vigilant with prayers and love and she reassured us with her humor and determination to move past whatever was going on physically.  Barbara was a local icon who was known and beloved all over the world but we were fortunate to be able to call her ours.  There is no replacement, for Barbara, she is truly one of a kind.”

-Shirley Worrels

 

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“Barbara always saw me in the room. And that meant the world to me. Because she was already a legend when we met. Sadly… Jazz and blues great never get the acclaim of pop stars. If you have spent a nanosecond in South Central Los Angeles, you have been blessed by her voice and by her love for US. Crowd size never impacted the quality of her show because she always brought her A game. Leimert Park will feel different without Barbara. I’m grateful for her.”

-Leroy Hamilton

 

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My tribute to the queen, Barbara Morrison

Well hello my dear sister, my adversary at times, but also my friend, you left this world as you intended all the way to the end.  We talked many late nights and early mornings with much ease.  You shared many great moments with me, let me share with the world please.

You made many friends as well as many frienemies.  You preferred it that way.  It kept people in check, on the edge, and not really knowing what would happen any day.  People are giving you props from all over the world these last few days.  Trying to figure out how to capitalize on your gifts to the world, in so many ways.

But as you always said on so many different occasions, Willie Lynch is alive and well.  Those who knew you well, should know the person who you were, but oh let me tell. You would cut a person like a knife and smile with that big ole smile, knowing all the time you didn’t care for them, hoping they would get it after a while.  

You would cuss a person out in your own special way, and that didn’t bother you, knowing that the pain in your legs was starting to heal was what you were working through.  People will probably laugh and nod their heads as they read these words I’m saying.  How could she say these things about you, only you and I know, I ain’t playing.  

-Linda Morgan Sam, a confidant to Barbara Morrison