Thurman Barker
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Thurman Barker

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Learn About an Extraordinary Percussionist


"The mixing of rhythms, of counter-melodies, of harmonic patterns between Taylor and Barker is provocative, exciting and often surprising."


Learn About World-Renowned Percussionist Thurman Barker

Thurman Barker is a master, world-renowned drummer and percussionist; as well as a composer and college professor. His professional career has spanned decades; and his talent is so extensive that it encompasses and crosses over into many musical genres, including, but not limited to, jazz, blues, contemporary, and classical. His percussion performances are forces to be reckoned with that cannot, and should not, be pigeonholed by anything as limiting as a label.

He was the house drummer at the Schubert Theater for 10 years, and has played behind the likes of Bette Midler, Marvin Gaye, Billy Eckstein, Vicky Carr, and blues legend Mighty Joe Young. He was a founding member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), and is an ASCAP member. He has 5 recordings under his own label, Uptee Productions, and has recorded as a side man on 50 albums. He is currently working on a composition for jazz quintet and orchestra called South Side Suite.

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Keeping Music Alive for Future Generations

Thurman Barker has also worked in education for more than 25 years. He feels it is so important to bring young people into music, because they are the future generation who will carry on the legacy of what is passed down to them. He hopes they continue playing creative music, including his own.

Even though he's been doing so for more than 50 years, Thurman is committed to creating new music, and believes that introducing children to the performance aspect of music and the creation of new music—in addition to the playing and performing of the old standards and traditional music—is how the passion will be kept alive and continued by new generations.


"What a treat! Not only are drummer Rasheed Bakr and bassist Lisle Ellis in pianist Cecil Taylor's group which opened Tuesday at Yoshi's - also on stage, front and center, is the remarkable, brilliant and empathetic percussionist and marimba player Thurman Barker. And although Taylor even as a soloist can be, and usually is, among the most inventive, fascinating and frustrating keyboardists of our time, his whole musical universe seems to expand with the addition of Barker, who has played with him sporadically for a number of years. The addition of the mellow-toned marimba, especially when Barker uses two mallets in each hand, creates another "keyboard" in the group - a sound, a timbre that can (and does, in Barker's hands) weave in and out of Taylor's astonishing piano lines. The mixing of rhythms, of counter-melodies, of harmonic patterns between Taylor and Barker is provocative, exciting and often surprising."
—The San Francisco Examiner

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