Story by Sean O'Connell
Anybody who has ever heard vocalist Barbara Morrison command a stage knows that she possesses an effervescent singing style that drips with soul and a ribald sense of humor. The Michigan-bred Angeleno has been belting out her brand of blues for over three decades in any venue with enough room to accommodate at least a dozen people doing the electric slide. She has shouted behind bandleaders like Dizzy Gillespie and Ray Charles, and has strutted alongside Tony Bennett and Buddy Guy.
Unfortunately, this summer, due to complications from diabetes, Morrison had to have one of her legs amputated. With the loss of work and mounting medical bills Morrison is in a difficult financial bind. Find out how to help her below.
“Barbara is one of the finest human beings that I have ever known in my life” says local jazz DJ James Janisse. “Her devotion to her craft and her consideration of those coming behind her are worthy of the praise given to saints.”
Morrison, aside from performing over a hundred gigs a year, has also been a tireless educator. “She is a radiant and positive energy. Barbara made me feel strong and understood,” recalls former student Gretchen Parlato. “She encouraged me to think about the story behind the song. As passionate and focused as she was, she also just got me to lighten up and smile, laugh and find pure joy with singing.”
Due to extensive rehabilitation Morrison is looking at a few months of difficult recovery. She has had to cancel future tour dates, including a two week appearance at this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
A Paypal account has been set up to help her during this difficult time, which you can access here. Hopefully Morrison will be back leading the electric slide sooner than later, as her powerful pipes and unmatched sense of humor are sorely missed.