Barbara Morrison is a legendary jewel of South Los Angeles. When talking to Morrison, you are talking to more than a jazz icon, you are talking to the sweetest lady ever. This conversation had a purpose however as she brings exciting news.
On April 30, @ 7:30 PM PDT, The Friends of Jazz at UCLA will virtually honor Grammy and Oscar winner Herbie Hancock. The event is sponsored by KJAZZ and the Ralph Ehrenpreis Performance Fund and will stream live from the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center in Leimert Park. Morrison shared how the event brings together multiple reasons for a celebration.
“This year, I decided to have my concert on International Jazz Day, and who better to pay tribute to, is one of the men who started International Jazz Day—Herbie Hancock,” said Morrison.
April is Jazz Appreciation Month and Morrison will be hosting “A Song for Herbie” celebrating the 10-year anniversary of International Jazz Day with original compositions honoring Herbie Hancock, pianist, keyboardist, bandleader, composer, actor and professor at University of California, Los Angeles’s UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.
“I said I wanted to do my scholarship again this year and I want to do it on International Jazz Day and honor Herbie Hancock and they went up to the moon,” said Morrison about pitching the idea.
“I suggested it to the board and they went for it!”
The founder of The Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center and founder and president of the California Jazz & Blues Museum, both located in Leimert Park, CA, Morrison also serves as an associate professor of Jazz Studies in the Global/Ethnomusicology Department at UCLA in Westwood, CA.
“As a matter of fact, our classrooms are right next to each other,” said Morrison about Hancock.
Morrison has been teaching classes at UCLA since the mid-90s. She teaches private vocals, beginning and advance, but due to COVID-19, like most classes around the nation, Morrison has taught her classes virtually.
She shared about teaching at UCLA, “I was there when Gerald Wilson and Billy Higgins was alive. I came in with the faculty—Kenny Burrell was our chairman at that time.
“I came in with the big boys.”
The tribute to Hancock includes performances by special guests Grammy nominated vocalist Freda Payne, pianists Paul Cornish, Stuart Elster and Elder Gindroz, bassist Michael Saucier, drummer Peter Buck, UCLA Global Jazz Vocal students Arya Hora and Lauren Brewster. Anthony “Tony” White will MC the event.
“You’re going to be exposed to original compositions by my students,” said Morrison. “They’re my vocal students.”
All the proceeds from this event will benefit Barbara Morrison Jazz Scholarship Fund at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.
“They put a scholarship in my name,” said Morrison. “So, this way, I’m raising money for my scholarship and all the money goes to the kids.”
She added, “If I raise a certain amount of money, I get an endowment.
“My goal is to raise a $100,000 [and] I want to ask everyone to donate.”
Throughout the month of April is Jazz Appreciation Month for all to enjoy legendary jazz performances virtually on the Barbara Morrison Music social media platform at: https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraMorrisonMusic/
To donate and buy tickets, please visit: https://giving.ucla.edu/Standard/NetDonate.aspx?SiteNum=3481&MG=%25%25PublicId%25%25&Finder=%25%25FinderNumber%25
For more information on the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center, please visit www.barbaramorrison.com