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Legendary San Antonio Saxophonist Spot Barnett Has Died

Written by on October 14, 2019

San Antonio music legend Vernon “Spot” Barnett died in his East Side home on Sunday, October 6, according to a MySA report.

In the ’50s and ’60s, the saxophonist led the 20th Century Orchestra, the house band at the East Side’s storied Ebony Lounge. He also performed with noted artists including Bobby “Blue” Bland and Ike and Tina Turner.

Barnett is noted for helping pioneer the musical form known as Chicano Soul or the Westside Sound, an amalgamation of blues, conjunto, R&B and rock ‘n’ roll. It was defined by acts such as Sunny and the Sunliners, the Royal Jesters and the Dell-Kings.

“Not the news I wanted to learn near the end of the day today,” said Hector Saldana, Texas music curator for the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University and a longtime Express-News music writer. “Spot was a dear friend. My deepest condolences to his family, friends, musicians and fans. He was a sweetheart.” After graduating from Wheatley High School in 1954, Barnett attended St. Philip’s College for a stint before paying his dues on the music circuit.

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