Jafar Barron grew up in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia. He was born in 1972 to parents who are well respected jazz musicians, his mother, Janet Simms, is a fine pianist and jazz singer and his father, George Barron, a widely recognized saxophonist.
Jafar, who began playing cornet at the age of ten, was raised in a home which provided an appreciation and foundation in both classical and jazz music.
He continued studying music at Central High School in the 1980s and during that time began playing with a group of budding Philadelphia musicians, which included Orrin Evans, Duane Eubanks, Christian McBride and members of Boys II Men.
Today some credit Barron with giving clarity and voice to the Philly fusion scene.
"He had a vision at an early age and he saw it through—the fusion of jazz and hip-hop," . .
"I'm giving him credit for establishing a sound and creating an environment that grew into what we know right now as neo-soul."
Duane Eubanks (as cited in Mathis, 2010)
Barron attended both Howard University and University of the Arts but eventually left college behind. He instead chose to go on the road to pursue his music career. There he would eventually play for the first"neo-soul" albums of artists Erykah Badu and Jill Scott. In 2000 Barron released his own solo album, The Free-Bop Movement, that was distributed by Q/Atlantic Records. The album was praised as embodying a 21st Century form of jazz that was relevant and accessible.
Today Jafar Barron's focus in his playing and compositions is primarily on progressive jazz/bebop standards. He continues his pursuit to creatively explore, experiment and develop as a progressive jazz artist remaining a prominent and respected member of the Philadelphia jazz scene.