Drummer, Educator Wade Barnes Dies at 57

Was CEO/President of the Brooklyn Four Plus One

Wade Barnes, a drummer, composer, producer, bandleader, arranger, educator and executive, passed away March 3 at age 57. The cause and place of death were not reported. Barnes was founder of the Brooklyn Four Plus One, Inc., a nonprofit whose stated mission, according to the organization’s website, is “to bring the highest quality of America’s classical music [jazz] to all ages, races, ethnic groups and socioeconomic levels.”

Originally, the site states, the Brooklyn Four Plus One, Inc. “was a band organized by drummer and educator Wade Barnes in the mid 1990s. The band was comprised of native Brooklynites deeply rooted in America’s musical culture. The ensemble conducted performances, clinics and symposia for a variety of audiences.” The group was later renamed the Brooklyn Repertory Ensemble (B.R.E.) and is now comprised of 17 members and plays for schools and arts organizations, particularly in under-served communities.

Barnes, who received multiple music degrees from colleges and universities, is credited, according to his official biography, with “facilitating a holistic conception which incorporates the entire history of American music.” He led Wade Barnes and the Bottom Line (a 10-member ensemble) and Wade Barnes and Unit Structures. During his career he also performed with “Doc” Cheatham, Earle Warren, Dicky Wells, Howard McGhee; Jimmy Garrison, Bob Cranshaw, Archie Shepp, Sonny Fortune; Jon Faddis and others. In addition, Barnes created clinics, workshops and curricula for the New York City Public Schools.

Barnes appeared on numerous recordings with several ensembles.