Katreese Barnes, a Musical Force Behind the Scenes, Dies at 56


Mr. Samberg, reached by phone on Friday, said that Ms. Barnes’s musical virtuosity and collaborative attitude helped keep rehearsals flowing throughout his time in the “S.N.L.” cast. “She was the light in the room, just had one of those smiles that warmed everybody,” he said. “She wrote songs for every live sketch as well, constantly, over and over. That job is so demanding, I was always blown away.”

Katreese Darcene Barnes was born in Fort Carson, Colo., on Jan. 3, 1963. Her mother, Esther Katrina Johnson Barnes, was a schoolteacher, and her father, Milton, was a sergeant in the Army. In addition to her brother Jerry, she is survived by her mother. Another brother, Donald, died in 2016.

Milton Barnes was frequently redeployed throughout Katreese’s childhood, and the family moved often. When he retired in 1976, they settled in Enfield, N.C.

By then Katreese was already a piano prodigy; she appeared that year as a featured soloist with the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra. Her talents inspired Jerry, who was a year older, to learn the guitar and bass, and they formed a band, Third Generation, while still in high school. After some personnel changes, the group changed its name to Juicy and signed to Arista Records in 1981.

Juicy released three albums in the 1980s full of sparkling, synthesizer-driven dance music, with the siblings sharing lead vocal duties. They scored a minor with “Beat Street Strut,” recorded for the soundtrack to the 1984 film “Beat Street,” which focused on hip-hop culture.

Juicy’s most successful album was “It Takes Two” (1985), on which the siblings played every instrument, using no side musicians. It featured the songs “Sugar Free,” which rose to No. 32 on the Billboard R&B singles chart, and “Nobody but You,” which they performed on “Soul Train” the next year.

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