Growing up near Detroit, Morrison made her radio debut on a local station at the age of ten. She moved to Los Angeles in 1973, where she recorded with R&B icon Johnny Otis and toured internationally with organist Jimmy Smith. Since then, she has shared the stage and studio with several household names, including Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles and Nancy Wilson. In 1995, she sang in a televised tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, alongside Stevie Wonder and Dianne Reeves.
Morrison continuously finds ways to give back to her community, founding the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles. The Center supports LA’s Harmony Project, an Il Sistema-inspired youth development initiative similar to San Jose Jazz’s Progressions program. More recently, she launched the California Jazz and Blues Museum in 2015 to commemorate the state’s musical history.
Her latest album, I Wanna Be Loved, features her timelessly smooth vocals paired with the saxophone stylings of Houston Person. A tribute to Dinah Washington, Morrison invokes her predecessor’s attitude throughout swinging standards and heartfelt ballads. From local performances to international tours, Morrison continues to breathe life into the American Songbook for listeners everywhere.