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ROSS BALOUR

BIOGRAPHY
 
Ross Barbour (singer)

An American singer with the vocal quartet The Four Freshmen.

The Four Freshmen originated in early 1948 when brothers Ross and Don Barbour, then at Butler University's Arthur Jordan Conservatory in Indianapolis, Indiana, formed a barbershop quartet called Hal's Harmonizers.

The Harmonizers also included Marvin Pruitt — soon replaced by Ross and Don's cousin Bob Flanigan — and Hal Kratzsch (1925–70), replaced in 1953 by Ken Errair.

The quartet soon adopted a more jazz-oriented repertoire and renamed itself the Toppers. At first, they were influenced by Glenn Miller's The Modernaires and Mel Tormé's Mel-Tones, but soon developed their own style of improvised vocal harmony. In September 1948, the quartet went on the road as The Four Freshmen, and soon drew the admiration of jazz legends such as Dizzy Gillespie and Woody Herman.

In 1950, The Four Freshmen got a break when band leader Stan Kenton heard the quartet in Dayton, Ohio, and arranged for an audition with his label, Capitol Records, which signed The Four later that year.

After Barbour's retirement in 1977, the Freshmen continued under the management of Flanigan, who kept the rights to The Four Freshmen name. Flanigan died on May 15, 2011 at the age of 84.

Barbour died of cancer on August 20, 2011, aged 82.

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