Leimert Park Community Mourns Loss of Barbara Morrison, Jazz and Blues Legend

“It’s just a big big loss.. everybody I talked to .. tears galore," said Timothy Morganfield, the Grammy-nominated musician's longtime manager.

Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center

With a performing arts center dedicated to her namesake in Leimert Park, legendary jazz and blues artist Barbara Morrison was known as the soul mother of this community.

Now, a small memorial is growing on the sidewalk outside of the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center as she passed Wednesday morning at the age of 72 due to an undisclosed illness.

Originally from Detroit, the three-time Grammy-nominated singer made LA her home in 1973.

She spent most of her life doing what she loved -- touring and recording with other legends like Ray Charles and Etta James.

Morrison also served as an associate professor of jazz studies at UCLA.

“It’s just a big big loss.. everybody I talked to .. tears galore," said Timothy Morganfield, Morrison's longtime manager.

Morganfield is among those gathering Wednesday night in Leimert Park where a tribute concert will get underway in her honor.


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Not only did Morrison make her mark in Leimert Park with her own music, but also by passing on her wisdom and nurturing up-and-coming artists over the past 10 years.

“She helped a lot of young people ... her classes often were free ... if you wanted to learn the music business or jazz, Barbara Morrison was there to teach. If you didn’t have the money, no problem," said KBLA host Tavis Smiley.

Even through the hardship of losing both legs due to diabetes a decade ago, she continued performing. And while she had no children of her own, she made everyone feel like family in Leimert Park.

“We look at her like a super mama because it don't matter what position a person was in ... she helped out everybody," said Leimert Park resident Hipp Toss.

“If you needed help or something, she’d give you the shirt off her back," said Morganfield.

“Leimert Park is the Black arts capital of this city ... For her to have established herself here a decade ago and never leave is a testament to her, and this community is going to miss deeply and sorely Barbara Morrison," said Smiley.

Morrison was scheduled to perform Wednesday night at the Catalina Bar and Grill in Hollywood with Dante Chambers.

Instead, her love ones will gather at her performing arts center to celebrate her legacy. 

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