Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Barrie Lee Hall Junior

Barrie Lee Hall, trumpet player invited whilst still a college to join Duke Ellington's orchestra, has died at the age of sixty one years.

From Barrie Lee Hall Junior’s own site:

“My interest in jazz got started in high school where I was in the school's big band under the direction of Sammy D. Harris whose insight pointed a few of us in the direction of jazz. I studied music with trumpet being my principal instrument and piano second at Texas Southern University and after winning a few soloist awards in national big band college jazz festival competitions around the country, Duke Ellington came to Houston.

Arnett Cobb, a jazz legend, call to ask me if I would take him to see Duke and in the process I would get a chance to meet Duke. Arnett introduces me as, "This is Barrie Lee Hall a trumpeter in the Texas Southern University Jazz Ensemble ". And Duke's reply was, " Ah, how come you're not playing in my band?" After waiting and calling around the US, I joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra June 8, 1973. I am at the present still a member of that organization. Mercer Ellington died February 8, 1996. Barrie Lee Hall Junior conducted the Duke Ellington Orchestra for one year after and he is the director of the orchestra sometimes in Paul Mercer Ellington’s stead.”

Ellington signed Barrie Lee Hall Junior in 1973, when the composer was most particularly involved in performances of his sacred works. Barrie Lee Hall Junior had a particular affinity for Duke’s spiritual writing which makes his association all the sweeter, his passing all the more poignant.

In tribute, here is Barrie Lee Hall Junior performing one of those works – The Shepherd.

Thank you for Barrie Lee Hall Junior.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Lula,

    How can this be? Barry was my last Duke soulmate, the most self-affacing sweet and totally honest "musician" I know. He sang in the Texas Southern choir with Anita when they appeared in Corpus in the 1960's with my then orchestra––Mozart, Gershwin, Mahler, Bernstein!!

    The next time we met was in KC, he sitting on the Ellington band stand me the local music director. "I never knew you were a trumpet player?" and what a trumpet player, he grew to where he, Barry Lee, set the sound of the band.

    We worked together on Duke's Queenie Pie in Philadelphia and Washington DC. His arrangements and his showstopper "Blues for Two Women" were/are outstanding, again he was with me in the pit every night, adding his plunger commentary all night long, authenticating Duke's legacy.

    We had a date to share a cubano cigar the next time he was in New York ... Y'iskadal v'yiskadosh shema rabba ... I love you Barry, Maurice