Robert "Bootsie" Barnes reportedly passed away this morning at Lankenau Hospital.
An icon in the Philadelphia Jazz scene, he grew up in West Philly, making a name for himself in the 1950's playing alongside the likes of legendary musicians Lee Morgan, Philly Joe Jones, Al "Tootie" Heath, Lex Humphries, Spanky DeBreast and many others. Another Philadelphian he often played with was his good friend at the time Bill Cosby, who was a drummer.
A family member took to Facebook to share a heartfelt message about the passing of Barnes:
"I appreciate everything you’ve done for me. You and mom mom are the ones who placed the horn in my hands and I am forever grateful for that day . You changed my life forever, for the better. This is extremely hard to cope with. My mentor, a father figure. I will NEVER forget the times we shared, everything you’ve taught me, all the music we listened to, sang to each other over the phone, discussed chord changes, stories from you being on the road, and the tons of players you played with. You were a walking history book, The Jazz world has lost another legend. I will missing talking to you and calling you for advice. Honestly, I really feel lost right now but I know you’re in a better place, please watch over us. I miss you so much. I LOVE YOU BOP POP
“Remember to keep on swingin’ “ - Bootsie Barnes"
A hometown hero in every sense, Barnes toured the world for decades but was beloved for never forgetting where he came from.