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Barry Kernfeld

(b Enugu, Nigeria, 1938). Nigerian alto saxophonist and educator. Raised in southeastern Nigeria, King began his career as a percussionist with the trumpeter, saxophonist, and singer Roy Chicago (John Akintola Ademuwagun) in Ibadan. There, and in Lagos, he subsequently played double bass, drums, and, finally, alto saxophone. In 1961 he moved to London to study music, including a period at the Trinity College of Music. With the drummer Bayo Martins and the trumpeter Mike Falana he formed the African Messengers in 1964. They played at festivals and nightclubs in England and accompanied Motown stars, including the Four Tops, the Temptations, and Diana Ross. Among their recordings was the hit song Highlife Piccadilly (c1964, Carnival 7013), a blend of highlife music and jazz on which King plays flute. He then toured Europe and northern Africa as leader of the Blues Builders.

After leading a band, The Voice of Africa, from ...