Barbara Morrison & Joan Belgrave: The Detroit Jazz Festival's L.A. Connection

Aug 26, 2014

 Every year at the Detroit Jazz Festival, Detroit musicians and singers return to perform and are greeted with enthusiastic applause and deep Detroit appreciation.  Among the many returning in 2014 is singer Barbara Morrison.   She was born in Ypsilanti, grew up in Romulus, graduated from Eastern Michigan University and left for Los Angeles when she was 23 to carve her own musical path.  Barbara Morrison and her very close friend Joan Belgrave joined Linda Yohn in the studio to talk about their parallel lives starting in Southeastern Michigan and ending up in Los Angeles.  

Barbara, Joan and Linda covered early influences for both singers and brought us to the present which includes Barbara’s position as a jazz voice teacher at UCLA and operating The Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center (BMPAC).  The center is a mecca for creative young talent in Los Angeles for workshops, classes and concerts.  Joan Belgrave is currently singing with her husband, trumpet legend Marcus Belgrave, singing with the Motown Legends Gospel Choir and recording independently for Blue Rivers Records.  The talk also included listening to warm and soulful music from Barbara Morrison’s newest CD I Love You, Yes I Do just out on HighNote Records, Barbara’s swinging original blues I Got To Get Back To L.A. recently recorded by the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra on the CD L.A. Treasures and two of Joan’s lilting vocals Me, Myself And I and I’ll String Along With You.


 If you would like to know even more about Barbara Morrison and Joan Belgrave as well as another returning Detroiter – Freda Payne – you can join Linda Yohn and the three in The Jazz Talk Tent at the Detroit Jazz Festival on Saturday, August 30th at 12:45PM.   

To hear Barbara Morrison live with Joan Belgrave, you’ll have to return to the festival on Sunday when the two appear with Marcus Belgrave in tribute to Louis Armstrong’s Musical Legacy at the Waterfront Stage at 3:45PM.  As a final treat, Barbara announced a surprise extra appearance at the Detroit Jazz Festival with pianist Tad Weed and his trio at 2:45PM Monday, September 1st on the Pyramid Stage.  

 WEMU thanks Joan Belgrave for arranging Barbara’s studio appearance and Brad McNett for his help with the interview and production.

 The Detroit Jazz Festival offers discovery of fresh new talent and the re-discovery of Detroit musical mastery.  If you haven’t yet discovered the mystery, mastery, wit and wisdom of Barbara Morrison, we invite you to listen, learn and love her.