The Bakersfield Jazz Workshop returns to action tonight after last week's extended jam session with a solo appearance by local keyboardist, composer, and musician extraordinaire Darnell Barnes. The talented performer recently began showing up at the BJW to listen and participate in the weekly jams and will be making his first appearance as the BJW's Featured Artist.
Originally from Akron, Ohio, Barnes left home and moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, when he was 16 in search of work. After stints in the Job Corps and the National Guard, he became well known as a go-to keyboardist in Indianapolis. He has shared the stage with professional acts such as War, Baby Face, and After 7, among others. Additionally, he and his band won talent competitions at the Indianapolis Black Expo.
Pursuit of his musical dreams led him to California, where he has been a resident of Bakersfield for about 20 years. He has recently been performing in the Pasadena area with a new band, The Jazz Experience, as well as recording "A New Day is Coming," their first CD. You can hear some samples of their music here.
According to Barnes, "I am very grateful and honored to be a part of such a great cause to allow our young future musicians to have a home to go to, to learn music from some of the best teachers and musicians in Bakersfield. I am also grateful to share my gift and talent to this cause."
As a reminder, the BJW weekly event is held at Le Corusse Rouge on White Lane and is free and open to all ages. The evening kicks off with a Beginning Jazz class at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Featured Act at about 7:30 p.m. until about 8:30 p.m. The rest of the night (until 10 p.m.) consists of an open jam session for Intermediate to Professional jazz musicians.
For more information: BJW Newsletter
For further reading: Bakersfield's 2014 Grammy connection - vocalist Gregory Porter