R.I.P. Jazz legend Chris Barber. The celebrated Jazz trombonist died on 2 March aged 90. One of the ‘three B’ greats of trombone alongside Acker Bilk and Kenny Ball, Barber will be remembered beyond his instrumental abilities. His involvement in bringing some of the early legends of popular music to the UK was pivotal to Pop’s evolution, as he brought names like Sister Rosette Tharpe, Muddy Waters and Bill Broonzy to young 50s audiences containing eager listeners who themselves would go on to make Britain the Pop Music Kingdom of the ’60s. Bands like The Stones, Beatles and even Hard Rockers like led Zeppelin.
“I scream, you scream, everybody wants ice cream!”
They were the words I got back when the name Chris Barber was mentioned to friends and colleagues. There’s a whole lot more to Barber than that though, and John Harrison’s review of the Big Chris Barber Band at the Bad Godesberg Stadthalle is by far the longest review on this site to date. Even so, it barely scratches at the surface of Barber’s career or his importance to modern music.
A promoter of Early Blues greats like Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf. A founder of London’s Marquee Club – THE place for every aspiring Pop/Rock star of the 60’s and 70’s to play (and where the likes of Jagger and Hendrix cut their teeth after hearing the band’s Barber ‘brought over’ to the UK). Learning ground for legendary musicians like Lonnie Donegan and Ken Colyer.
“He changed my life, and probably yours too” is how Hugh Laurie describes Barber in an interview
Let John Harrison tell the Chris Barber story through his excellent review that follows. Take a break mid-way for an ice cream if you want…
His life reads like a who’s who of Blues: Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Alexis Korner, Lonnie Donegan, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page are just some of the men that Chris Barber has helped on their individual ladders to stardom. in an exclusive 3songsbonn interview before his appearance at the Stadthalle in Bad Godesberg on Saturday (10 Jan) the legendary British Jazz pioneer told John Harrison about both the joys and the struggles as Blues and Jazz set off to conquer the UK and Europe for the first time in the 1950’s and 60’s.