We are so sad to report that Philadelphia jazz legend, Robert "Bootsie" Barnes—tenor sax player extraordinaire—passed this morning of COVID-19 at age 82. "The man with the tenor touch," he was beloved by so many in our jazz community and beyond. Read obituary here.
In 2018, WRTI featured his wonderful album with Larry McKenna, The More I See You, as our Jazz Album of the Week. Please take a moment to watch the videos below and read about this special collaboration between two good friends.
November 26, 2018. After 80 years of living in the same city, saxophonists Larry McKenna and Bootsie Barnes have finally recorded an album together! The More I See You is a recording of these legends playing some classic gems and originals the only way they know how – with that Philly flare.
Growing up mere miles from each other, these career musicians knew of each other, but didn’t play together until later in life. This album marks the first full recording as a duo, and the rest of the band is just as dynamic as the leaders – Lucas Brown plays the Hammond B-3 organ and Byron Landham is on drums. These fellow Philadelphian’s are the perfect companions to the respective styles of Larry and Bootsie.
The group revisits the swinging “Three Miles Out” from Bootsie’s 2003 release Boppin’ Round the Center, and introduces a bluesy McKenna original called “Don’t Redux the Reflux.” They each take a solo turn on some standards – Larry does a velvety version of “You’ve Changed,” and Bootsie brings his signature bounce to “My Ship.” Selections from the Great American Songbook and the jazz songbook make appearances, including Jimmy Heath’s “For Minor’s Only.”
The More I See You is an outstanding tribute to the classic Philadelphia jazz sound, skillfully executed by the city’s most revered tenor men. No one can play this music like these legends.