Danny Barker Centennial Celebration

Published on: January 5th, 2009

photo of Danny Barker

Celebrating a New Orleans Musical Hero

Danny Barker (1909-1994) was a profoundly influential New Orleans musician, bandleader, educator, and storyteller. As a guitarist, he played and recorded with greats including Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker from the 1930s to the '60s.

In the '70s and '80s, his Fairview Baptist Church Marching Band (later to evolve into the Dirty Dozen Brass Band) helped launch the careers of players like Wynton Marsalis and Nicholas Payton and led to a revival of the New Orleans brass band tradition.

A six-day celebration of Barker's 100th birthday will be presented by the French Market Corporation, the New Orleans Jazz Celebration, and the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park.

photo of Danny Barker

Danny Barker Centennial Celebration

January 13: Awards ceremony at Palm Court Jazz Café

January 14-16: Educational "informances" by guitarist Carl LeBlanc in New Orleans public schools

January 17: Danny Barker tribute with drummer Herlin Riley at Snug Harbor.

January 17-18: Leroy Jones, the Dirty Dozen, Lionel Ferbos, Charmaine Neville, the Rebirth Brass Band, and many more perform at various locations around the French Market.

There will also be walking jazz tours each day of the festival with NOJC board member Susan Wayman.

For more information and the complete lineup of performances, visit jazzcent.com.

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Danny Barker: he was a friend of mine, as he was of so many --
not just the big people and and musicians, but the little people, the music appreciators like me. Always ready with a story or a quip, Danny Barker was above all a kind person, devoted to his wife BluLu, his city, and its musical heritage.

If there ever was anyone who deserved a festival in his honor, it is Danny Barker. Thank you for being the ones to do so.

Make Mardi Gras Not War...


JazzLunatique's picture

I will be working on a series of radio pieces on Barker this year in honor of his centennial, but most importantly, to quote saxophonist Derek Huston:

"They don't even make human beings like Danny Barker any more."

Lestah's picture

Mr. Barker was a musical advisor, facilitator, and all-round muse, if that term could be applied to a man fond of bowler hats. His memory is still clear as if he were sitting at the Music Factory and playing "Don't You Feel My Thigh." A century ago he came into a very different New Orleans, living in a building near the presen-day condo of friends. I feel Danny's presence there, and often touch the brass plaque on Chartres as a touchstone to his jazz artistry.

His jazz voice was totally unique, and we who were acquainted, even in a small way, are the richer from the experience. May his memory be alive after another hundred years have passed.

I'm taking Danny barker's spirit with me when I teach a class in Columbus, Ohio on jazz history prior to the First World War. His book, Buddy Bolden and the Last Days of Storyville, is a national treasure. It has a very rich interview that Danny recorded in 1955 with Mr. Dude Bottley, a contemporary of Buddy Bolden.

JazzLunatique's picture

Remember that there was no Dude Bottley. He is a composite of characters that Danny knew, but the actual Dude Bottley is made up person. He never existed as that.


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