Spencer Barefield & Creative Arts Collective

Barefield awarded the prestigious 2010 
Kresge Foundation Arts Fellowship


"A. Spencer Barefield is the best guitarist ignored by the U.S. jazz industry. He melds the techniques of Segovia and Jimi Hendrix into a startling jazz lexicon. The Detroit-based Barefield’s ensembles have included the likes of James Carter, Andrew Cyrille and Richard Davis, and his compositions have made bold use of string quartets."     Bill Shoemaker, JazzTimes


Clockwise from top left: A. Spencer Barefield, Richard Davis,
Dave McMurray, Marian Hayden, Dave Young and Marcus Belgrave.
Photo: ©2011 Barbara Barefield 


Photo: ©2011 Barbara Barefield 

Described by JazzTimes as “an extraordinary guitarist/composer,” Barefield has received numerous awards for composition and performance from National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer, Kresge Foundation and others. He has toured and recorded in the US, Canada, and Europe, extensively as a leader, soloist, and with Lester Bowie, Roscoe Mitchell, Oliver Lake, Andrew Cyrille, Richard Davis and many more. Barefield’s Creative Arts Collective has received international recognition for its innovative presentations, including its Creative Music at the Detroit Institute of Arts series and current Palmer Woods Music in Homes series. 

Creative Arts Collective

A mainstay on the Detroit music scene, Barefield is the director of the Creative Arts Collective (CAC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the presentation, preservation and creation of jazz and creative music. Inspired by Chicago's legendary Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), two members of AACM, Roscoe Mitchell and Dushun Mosley, were founding members of CAC with Spencer in the early 1970s in East Lansing, Michigan.



Recordings from the historic Creative Music at the DIA concerts are now part of the Beneath Detroit CD series. A 2-disc set with Douglas Ewart, Barefield and Tani Tabbal; a 2-disc set with Leroy Jenkins with Barefield, Tabbal, Faruq Z. Bey, Jaribu Shahid and Anthony Holland; and Transdimensional Space Window with Barefield-Holland-Tabbal Trio can be purchased from itunes,, Read more at

Since that time, CAC has made its mark both locally and internationally. Its 13-year concert series at the Detroit Institute of Arts boldly presented collaborations between Barefield and other Detroit-based artists — such as Tani Tabbal, Jaribu Shahid, Dave McMurray, Tony Holland, Roy Brooks, Faruq Z. Bey, James Carter, Regina Carter, Geri Allen, Marcus Belgrave and many others — with jazz greats such as Roscoe Mitchell, Leroy Jenkins, George Lewis, Douglas Ewart, Muhal Richard Abrams, Richard Davis, Andrew Cyrille, Anthony Davis, Lester Bowie, Reggie Workman and a long list of others. CAC's contributions to the cultural scene in Michigan earned it the Governor's Arts Award for most valuable arts organization.


CAC continues to present concerts throughout the US and internationally. Many of its concerts have been broadcast on National Public Radio and have been released on CDs. CAC is currently partnering with Detroit's Palmer Woods neighborhood to produced Palmer Woods Music in Homes,


"Like Kenny Burrell, Spencer Barefield hails from Detroit. And like that of the esteemed bop veteran, his approach to the guitar is smooth, lyrical and elegantly understated. So much for cornerstones. In drawing deftly from classical and West African forms on acoustic guitar, this self-effacing young innovator is in all other respects an intriguing original."

Chicago Sun Times



Spencer Barefield at Baker's Keyboard Lounge in Detroit
Photo: ©2011 Barbara Barefield 

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