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Barron, Bill(actually, William Jr.)

coltrane music band bop

Barron, Bill(actually, William Jr.), tenor and soprano saxophonist, brother of Kenny Barron; b. Philadelphia, March 27, 1927; d. Middletown, Conn., Sept. 21, 1989. He took up the saxophone at age 13 and in 1945 was in the concert band alongside Coltrane at the Ornstein School of Music; about 1952, he and Coltrane were taped jamming with Hassaan, but the tape was lost or destroyed. Barron also played with Jimmy Heath, Red Garland, and many others before moving to N.Y. in 1958. He directed the Muse Jazz Workshop at the Children’s Museum in Brooklyn and taught at City Coll. in the 1960s and 1970s, then served as chairman of the Wesleyan Univ. Music Department in the mid–1980s. He died after a long illness in 1989. He was a highly original player who never achieved much fame but was well liked and respected by such musician friends as John Coltrane. He was adaptable enough to record in bop and hard bop contexts, yet also work with Cecil Taylor and co-lead a band with Ted Curson.

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