Blending World-Renowned Style with Refreshing Individuality
Thurman Barker is a celebrated percussionist who built his career on innovation. As a professional musician, composer, and college professor, he brings endless passion and decades of experience together to entertain, educate, and expand the horizons of his art. His career has spanned decades, and his talent encompasses and crosses over into many musical genres. From jazz and blues to contemporary, classical, and beyond, his sound blurs traditionally rigid lines to the delight of his audiences. Since creating Uptee Records in the early 80s, Barker has previously released six recordings as a leader. In 2016, Barker began writing for Chamber Orchestra. His first score entitled “South Side Suite” premiered at Bard College in the Fall 2017 and had its New York premiere at Roulette in 2019. Barker’s second score “Pandemic Fever” had its premiere at DePaul University in Chicago on October 1, 2021. His most recent score entitled “Mr. Speed-Str.” premiered in the Fall of 2022 at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music in NYC.
Barker’s wealth of knowledge was built through his association with countless incredible collaborators. Most notable musical experiences have been with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). As a charter member of the group,Thurman first appeared in AACM productions with Joseph Jarman’s pioneering ensembles. He then went on to record and play with many members, including Dr. Muhal Richard Abrams, Amina Claudine Meyers, Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, Roscoe Mitchell, and Henry Threadgill. After moving to New York in the late 70s, Barker worked and recorded with Sam Rivers and Cecil Taylor. Thurman Barker became a Professor Emeritus of Bard College in Music/Jazz Studies in June 2021. He is a recipient of a 2022 NYSCA award for composition as well as numerous Meet the Composer grants. This album is dedicated to Dr. Muhal Richard Abrams.
Contact Thurman Barker today to learn more about his music and commitment to inspiring art in new generations.
Keeping Music Alive for Future Generations
Taking his passion beyond the boundaries of the recording studio, Barker has also made his mark in education for more than 35 years. After embracing the legacy left behind by musicians before him, he understands the life-defining impact that every note carries forward in time. As he works with students, he aims to inspire the same enduring love of the craft that created his unique career — and to keep percussive beats like his own flowing well into the future.
Even after 50 years of creating new music, thefamous drummer still finds surprising new ways to innovate his art. By teaching children about tradition and still keeping an open mind that falls in love with each new iteration of form, he hopes to preserve percussion’s rich history and continue to play a role in defining how it moves forward. You can learn more about his work by contacting Thurman Barker & Uptee Productions today.
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Read What Others Have to Say
"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