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Bootsie Barnes

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Robert “Bootsie” Barnes

Saxophonist, Arranger, Producer   

email: bootsiebarnes@hotmail.com    

Website: www.bootsiebarnes.com   

Saxophonist Robert “Bootsie” Barnes has been proclaimed a Philadelphia treasure. His celebrity should rank along with TastyKakes and Philly Cheese Steaks. 

“Bootsie” began his musical career at age 6 on piano and switched to drums at 10. His grandmother gave him a saxophone at age 16 and he never looked back. In school, classmates included drummers Lex Humphries, Bill Cosby, Al “Tootie” Heath; bassist “Spanky” DeBreast; tumpeter Lee Morgan, and a host of Philadelphia giants who went on to help shape the maturing face of Jazz music. 

He was among Philadelphia’s most called upon saxophonists. During the ‘60’s and 70’s he was playing with such legends as Don Patterson, Philly Joe Jones, and the late Al Grey. He has led touring ensembles for his childhood buddy, Bill Cosby, and made a guest appearance on television’s The Cosby Show (playing himself).

Bootsie has also worked the entire “Organ Circuit” with Shirley Scott, Jimmy McGriff, Charles Earland, Jack McDuff, Poppa John & Joey DeFrancesco, and the undisputed champion of the organ, Jimmy Smith

Although Mister Barnes toured the U.S., Europe and Canada, he makes his home in Philadelphia. At home, the new “Young Lions” of jazz regard him as their “Mentor Emeritus”. He is also held in high esteem by his “elder statesmen of Jazz” in Philly and around the world. 

Now in his early sixties, Mr. Barnes plays an average of 4 nights a week in the city where he was born, and where his fans are fiercely loyal. He also spends a great deal of time in the neighborhood school systems  spreading the of hard practice and teamwork to youngsters via Jazz workshops. In conjunction with the John Coltrane Cultural Society and the Clef Club, he has brought summer workshops to Philadelphia Housing Projects community centers (such as Raymond Rosen, Blumberg and Martin Luther King), as well as to disadvantaged neighborhoods in Philadelphia and neighboring South Jersey. 

 

 
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