Born in Motown-Detroit, Michigan on September 27th Allan C. Barnes was literally surrounded by music. He received his first musical training from his musician uncles, Joe and Robert Barnes. One day when he was 16 years old he heard John Coltrane “live” and it changed his life. He wanted to play jazz.
In 1967, Allan enlisted in the United States Army and trained at the Army Element of the U.S. Naval School of music. After a year in the 437th, duty took him to the war in Vietnam and the 4th Division Army Band. But his marching orders were to pursue his dream of jazz like his influences of Coltrane, Jon Henderson and Gene Ammons. After being discharged, Allan played his way back to Detroit and in the process was discovered by the legendary Donald Byrd who insisted that Allan come to Howard University and play with a new band he was putting together, The BlackByrds. Allan travelled the world with Donald Byrd and The Blackbirds. The bands' first album went gold with Allan writing two of the songs... "Summer Love" and "The Blackbirds Theme”. The bands' second album "Flying Start" contained the hit single "Walking in Rhythm", with Allan being featured on the flute. Allan now has a Blackbyrds revue featuring the songs of The Blackbyrds and the songs of Donald Byrd.
Allan went on to front his own band, Allan Barnes and Primetime. But his great tone and big sound kept him in demand as he bounced back and forth between L.A and Detroit. Everyone wanted his special sound and he played and recorded with Gil Scott-Heron, Lyman Woodard David Ii Fred Wesley Nina Simone, Lee Oscar, Pini Cohen, Bennie Maupin, Siggy Dillard, Delbert Taylor, Robert Guillaume,Wilson Pickett, Christian Dimaggio, Lakeside, Ceri Lucas, Prince, The Mizell Brothers. Marcus Belgrave. Harold McKinney Bootsie Collins, the Detroit Experiment, Regina Carter, Geri Allen, the Dramatics, the Interzone Orchestra, Reggie Braxton, Sandy Patton, Dwight Adams, Sunny Wilkinson, Sunny Girl. Martha Reeves, Mary Wilson, Teddy Harris, Roy Brooks, Big John Patton, Milt Hinton, Grant Green, Pharaoh Saunders, Sonny Rollins and Billy Taylor.
Allan starred in the 2010 Rockwell Pictures production “Saxophone Player”. Allan stared in the film shot on location around Detroit.
Allan Barnes was co founder of Peaceful Warriors Project that celebrates the Music of US Veterans
During his career Allan wrote music with John Malone and had a single, "Disco Dancin"', on the first "Taste of Honey" album and with R. Kelly co wrote "Money makes the world go `round”. He wrote music for commercials with Larry King, Sugar Ray Leonard, Leslie Nielsen, and Muhammad Ali. He penned the music for the PBS movie “One Night’s Run” and the PBS series Small Business Magazine in addition he wrote station I.D. theme for the University of Michigan public TV. Allan created and hosted the PBS show Jazzland. He also had a cameo in the Clint Eastwood,,The feature film "Bird" starring Forrest Whittaker.
Allan has stayed true to jazz from the golden era and wrote “Until We Meet Again”. ."His unique sound calls out to the audience and invites them in. Allan loves tunes. There’s the pure melodic sense of the American popular song tradition hiding in the core of almost all of his work His tenacity and energy and creativity and dedication to jazz has netted him the feature role in the PBS special American Jazz Greats.
Allan C. Barnes is a gifted instrumentalist, writer and teacher, whose work will stand for his "masterful improvisation, supreme musicianship and his significant contributions to the preservation of the history of jazz."
Allan Barnes Discography
Album Song Label Year
Do It Fluid/Summer Love "Summer Love" Fantasy 1974
Flying Start "Blackbyrds' Theme/April Showers" Fantasy 1974
The Blackbyrds "Summer Love" BGP Records 1974
A Taste of Honey "Disco Dancin'" Capitol Records 1978
Boogie Oogie Oogie/Disco Dancin' "Disco Dancin'" Capitol Records 1978
Night Grooves "Gut Level/Walkin' in Rhythm" Fantasy Records 1978
It's Cold Out Here Jungle Records 1989
Jazz Dance Classics, Vol. 2 "The Runaway" Luv N' Haight 1993
Hip City "Moonstruck" Luv N' Haight 1994
The Blackbyrds/Flying Start BGP Records 1994
The Blackbyrds Fantasy 1996
Beauty in the Boogie "Disco Dancin'" EMI Records 1997
Fresh Outta "P" University WEA 1997
As Time Goes By Virgin Records America 1999
Programmed "People Make the World Go Round" Talkin' Loud 1999
The Detroit Experiment "Think Twice, Revelation" Ropeadope Records 2002
Movement - Detroit's Electronic Music Festival 04 Transmat 2004
Funky Grooves "Disco Dancin'" Disky 2006
Happy Music: The Best of the Blackbyrds "Blackbyrd's Theme" Fantasy 2007
Lovebyrds: Soft and Easy "April Showers, Summer Lovin'" Fantasy 2007
A Pipe Dream and a Promise (CD) "A Pipe Dream and a Promise" Interdependent Media 2009
Time Has Come/Blackbyrds' Theme (7") "Blackbyrds' Theme" BackFire Records 2009
Live at Baker's Keyboard Lounge 2010
American Jazz Greats Live 2012
Bringing Home the Colors iMP 2014
Get Yo Jazz Up! (2016)
Allan Barnes US Army 1967-1970
"Being a professional musician I have come to understand the value of experience. After leaving high school I enlisted in the United States Army. After my basic training I was assigned to the Naval School of Music in Norfolk, Virginia. As I reflect, the training was intense and thorough. I now realize how much I benefited from this experience. After being discharged, my good fortune landed me at Howard University where a Peaceful Warrior by the name of Donald Byrd took me under his wing. My point is that we have Peaceful Warriors returning home with skills and experiences that can and will be a valuable asset to our communities, once given the chance to express their talents and expertise. We encourage anyone in the need of human resources or staffing of any kind where teamwork is valued, to seek out a veteran, a Peaceful Warrior. As we celebrate musicians who have served in the military and have gone on to contribute greatly to the musical culture, think of how a skilled, creative military veteran with experience and a college education could work on your team. You deserve a Peaceful Warrior. Join me in my Peaceful Warriors Project where we celebrate music's military veterans and promote veteran awareness " ~ Allan Barnes
The Allan C. Barnes
Peaceful Warriors Project
Awarding winning Musician and US Army Veteran Allan Barnes was the spearhead of the Peaceful Warriors Project. He was best known for his time in the iconic Blackbyrds band and its mega hit "Walking in Rhythm". Allan played with music legends Nina Simone, Prince, Pharaoh Sanders, Sonny Rollins, Billy Taylor, Gil Scott-Heron and more. His composition "Bringing Home the Colors" written with Army Veteran John Malone is the centerpiece of the the PWP Concerts.