Barre Phillips was born in San Francisco in 1934.
He began playing the double bass at age 13.
In 1964 he appeared as soloist with the New York Philharmonic (Improvisations, by L. Austin) and made his first trip to Europe as part of the George Russell Sextet (w/ Joe Farrell, Garnet Brown, Thad Jones, Tutti Heath and Russell).
In 1967, during a stay in London following a tour with the Jimmy Giuffre Trio (w/ Don Friedman and Giuffre), he was offered a role in a French film (Marcel Camus - "Le Temps Fou"), a tour of Europe with the Marion Brown Trio (w/ Steve McCall and Brown) and a solo theater music commission in Aix-en-Provence, France.
He never made it back to the U.S.A..
As much a composer as a performer, Barre has worked in the areas of
film, ballet and theater throughout the years. He has composed music
for a dozen feature films (Robert Kramer, Jacques Rivette, William Friedkin,
Camus...), a score of ballets (Carolyn Carlson and the Paris Opera,
Dominique Petit, Yette Resal, Artefacte ...) and theater music for several
Parallel to these experiences Barre Phillips has continued to perform and record. He has recorded over 100 records, 30 of them under his own name. Barre is in constant demand throughout Europe, North America and Japan as a soloist and improviser
His stage experience spans a wide range of musical styles, from Coleman Hawkins to Cecil Taylor to Interactive Electronic music. His work in the 1970ís with John Surman and Stu Martin, "THE TRIO", became a model in itself, and influenced many younger musicians.
Among the countless artists Barre has played with, on stage or record are: Coleman Hawkins, Eric Dolphy, Archie Shepp, Chick Corea, George Russell, Lee Konitz, Charlie Mariano, Peter Nero, Michel Portal, Albert Mangelsdorff, Martial Solal, Jimmy Giuffre, Paul Bley, Don Ellis, Joachim Kuhn, Evan Parker, Derek Bailey, Ornette Coleman, Joëlle Léandre, Cecil Taylor, Irene Schweitzer, Pierre Favre, Kazue Sawai ... During his New York years he played in Big Bands- Maynard Ferguson, Louis Belsen - the N.Y. Phil. under L. Bernstein, accompanied singers - Gloria Lynn, Sheila Jordan, Jeanne Lee, Bobby McFerrin, Jay Clayton, Colette Magny.
He is also an active teacher and has led workshops regularly since 1976 in Europe, America and Japan in Double Bass, Improvised Music and Music for Contemporary Dance.