Jazz and blues legend Barbara Morrison shows no signs of slowing down. Having successfully launched the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center, she now has set her sights on opening a Jazz and Blues Museum in Leimert Park Village.
The idea stems from her desire to educate the public about the people behind the music.
In light of some famous birthdays, including what would have been Ella Fitzgerald’s 100th birthday on April 25 as well as Lena Horne’s 100th June 30 and Theolonius Monk’s 100th birthday later this year, Morrison said people should know more about these famous jazz greats.
“People need to know some of that sweet music that they listen to on their phone while asleep at night or on a cruise ship or driving down the street,” Morrison said.
The museum will include information and memorabilia from jazz and blues legends as well as musicians that are still performing today. Different exhibits will be featured each month.
“There are jazz and blues people still alive and they’re active and they’re going around the world and they’re sharing their experiences with all kinds of schools in every country,” Morrison said. “I thought, hmm, let’s build our own little country here.”
As a result of her travels around the world, meeting people she had only read about it, she now has a chance to bring them here, and let other people see them, too.
“Now I have a chance to let people come here and meet them and share their stories,” Morrison said.
The museum will showcase instruments that belonged to famous people, including a drum belonging to Ed Shaughnessy from “The Tonight Show.” Johnny Otis’ vibes and Terry Gibbs’ mallets will also be on display. There will also be other items such as a dress that belonged to Linda Hopkins, who just died in April, among them. It was part of the costume she wore on the road, Morrison said.
She hopes to be able to get one of Ella Fitzgerald’s costumes as well. Album covers will also be included.
A GoFundMe campaign was launched to raise funds for the museum. The fundraiser is going well although Morrison said she wishes she had asked for more money. Currently, nearly $4,000 has been raised out of a $10,000 goal.
To learn out more about the campaign to raise funds for Barbara Morrison’s Jazz & Blues Museum, visit www.gofundme.com/california-jazz-blues-museum.