Barrie Lee Hall Junior was born June 30, 1949 in Mansfield, Louisiana.
My parents names are Barrie Lee Hall and Artrice B.Whittaker.
My junior high school was Crispus Attucks in Houston, Texas from the seventh
grade through the eighth and De Soto Parish is where I finished junior high
school in Mansfield, Louisiana.
I finished senior high school in Houston, Texas at Evan E. Worthing Senior
High School. My university was Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas.
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
Presently Barrie has been the music director at Liberty Baptist Church
for the last five years. He has extensive background in gospel music both
contemporary and traditional gospel. Of the contemporary projects that
Barrie has performed is Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concert. On March 16,
2001, Barrie performed Duke Ellington's Sacred Concert as bandleader of
the Duke Ellington Orchestra with a two hundred-voice choir. I would love
to see Ellington's sacred works done more in the church. I have done this
piece when Duke was living and it has always been powerful. It ministers
to people. I have done this piece in Yugoslavia to an audience of three
thousand in a huge cathedral with the music piped to an audience of ten
thousand people outside the doors of the church. This was right before
the war. This is how I know that Duke's sacred works are a ministry. I
have done this piece all over the world, even in Poland in a building
where Hitler held rallies. I just know that God is doing things through
the music of Ellington.
I love working in the church. It brings out
of me my essence. I use the music to gladden the spirit of people. I have
always wanted to work in the church and like magic I have ended up there.
For the last six years Barrie has been going to Switzerland every April
where he is a guest soloist with a big band that is made up of top musicians
from all over the United States. This year he was the conductor of the
youth orchestra. We take a professional musician from each instrument
family and place them in the orchestra. The young adults benefit tremendously
by getting hands on personal tutoring. We then do a concert on the weekend
in front of a live audience.