LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A public viewing and celebration of life will be held today for Los Angeles jazz legend Barbara Morrison, who performed with many of the genre's greats over the course of more than 60 years and worked to bring music to under-served children and Southland neighborhoods.
The two-hour open-casket viewing will begin at 11 a.m. at Congregational Church of Christian Fellowship, 2085 S. Hobart Blvd. At 2 p.m., a public celebration of life will be held at the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center in Leimert Park, and will feature live music and presentations by her fans and loved ones, organizers said.
Morrison died March 16 at age 72. She had been hospitalized in early March due to cardiovascular disease.
``A treasure has been called home to rest peacefully and eternally,'' her family said in a statement. ``Our matriarch was loved and treasured by the city of L.A., and across nations overseas. But mostly, she was treasured by her family. During this time, we ask for patience and prayers as we honor her life and come together to pay tribute to her. Thank you for the love, support, and tributes. We see you! God bless you all.''
During her career, the Michigan native performed with some of jazz music's biggest names, including Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, Kenny Burrell, Hank Crawford, Nancy Wilson, Mel Tormé and Ray Brown. She also sat in with the Count Basie Orchestra and Doc Severinsen's Big Band.
According to the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, where she served as an adjunct professor of global jazz studies, she performed at Carnegie Hall, toured Europe with Ray Charles and sang at the North Sea, Bern and Playboy jazz festivals.
She began performing at age 10 in Michigan, and over the course of her career appeared on more than 20 recordings, two of which earned Grammy nominations. Her Blue Lady Records was nominated in 1999 as producer of Al McKibbon's album ``Tumbao Para Los Confueros de Mi Vida (For All the Conga Drummers in My Life).''
She founded the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center in 2009 to bring music to the Leimert Park community. Morrison would often give free music and voice lessons to children and give them a chance to perform on stage.
She also founded the California Jazz & Blues Museum in Leimert Park in 2011.
The Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs mourned her passing, calling her an ``L.A. treasure.''
``The jazz & blues vocalist & director of the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center in Leimert Park leaves a deep legacy of song, creativity & community giving. May her memory continue to inspire us.''
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-the-incredible-barbara-morrison.