Primary Instrument: Saxophone
George Barron is acclaimed for the warmth and high energy of his tenor and soprano saxophone playing. His is a driving, passionate sound that runs the gambit from smooth to explosive.
With influences like Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane it is no wonder that he impressed New York Times Jazz Critic, John S. Wilson, who called him,... A very versatile and polished saxophonist.
Lonnie Liston Smith, pianist and composer, made reference to a session where he first heard George, who was sitting in with Pharoah Sanders as follows, Horn players used to sit in with us... but they'd get nervous playing with Pharoah [Sanders]. George was different. He just got up and started to play. I had never heard a horn player that confident alongside Pharoah.
Lonnie went on to say, The thing about George...is that he has his own thing. That's very hard for a tenor saxophonist because of the presence of Gato Barbieri, Archie Shepp and Pharoah. So much has been done on this instrument by those, and John Coltrane, that it's hard to come up with your own sound and style on that horn. But George Barron has done it.
Nat Hentoff, noted writer and Jazz critic, went further to say that, He's not only done it, but on this album, i.e. Lonnie Liston Smith's Astral Traveling, (which was cited by an Essence magazine writer, as being seminal to the Smooth Jazz movement) George Barron has never before been so commandingly, securely himself and yet so vital a part of the collective musical experience .... His fullness of sound, mastery of the whole instrument (both tenor and soprano) and rhythmic sweep should propel George Barron, as a result of this album, into the front rank of contemporary saxophonist.
His saxophone virtuosity has won Barron positions as a featured soloist with bands lead by Lonnie Liston Smith and Norman Connors. During a three year tenure with Smith, he performed and recorded along side artists such as Cecil McBee, Buster Williams, Stanley Clark, Mtume and Al Foster. His warm lyrical tone can be heard on Smith's earlier Flying Dutchman recording Astral Traveling and his saxophone is also prominent on the subsequent album entitled Cosmic Funk.
George has concertized and performed in colleges and clubs with his own ensembles on a continuing basis. He can take you on musical trip from the blues to the avant garde.
The captivating voice of his wife, Janet Barron, is a featured attraction in most of his performance and presentations. At time she adds a unique vocal component that functions as another horn part. At other times she is center stage and melting your soul with a passionate ballad or burning it up with the blues. Her style is a blend of influences such as Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, Carmen McRae and Nancy Wilson. Her treatment of straight ahead jazz standards is always exciting and swing is the operative word.
George's son Farid, is an award winning soloist, and is the pianist on the track titled Games and Toys on the Emanations CD. He fills the piano chair on George's previous CD Crossing the Rubicon in its entirety. He has performed with trumpeter Donald Byrd and he held the piano chair with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra for several years.