The iconic British Jazz musician, known as one of the ‘Three Bs,’ has died ‘peacefully in his sleep’ after struggling with dementia for the last couple of years.
AceShowbiz -Jazz legend Chris Barber has died at the age of 90.
The musician passed away on Monday (01Mar21), according to a tweet from his record label bosses at The Last Music Company.
“Chris Barber died peacefully in his sleep on 1st March 2021,” it read. “He had been suffering from Dementia for the last couple of years. We are saddened by his loss.”
Barber was one of the “Three Bs” – along with Acker Bilk and Kenny Ball – who helped define traditional British jazz, leading the genre’s revival in the 1950s and 1960s.
He formed his first band in London during the 1940s, but it was only when he and clarinet player Monty Sunshine formed a group in 1953 under Ken Colyer that his career took off.
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Barber shared a long-standing partnership with trumpeter Pat Halcox, who worked with him from 1954 to 2008 in his various bands. They found success with fellow performer Ottilie Patterson, to whom Barber was married from 1959 to 1983, and progressed from small jazz clubs to concert halls.
Barber even climbed the charts when he played the double bass on the 1956 record “Petite Fleur“, which reached the top five in both the U.K. and the U.S.
He also worked closely with skiffle king Lonnie Donegan, the band’s original banjo player, and their version of “Rock Island Line” in 1955 became the first debut vocal recording to become a certified Gold Disc in the U.K.
Barber was a central figure in the blues revival of the 1960s and introduced performers such as Sister Rosetta Sharpe, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, and Muddy Waters to Britain.
He was presented with an Order of the British Empire medal for his services to music in 1991. Barber retired from music in 2019.
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