Lawrence Cotton

Lawrence Cotton was born in uptown New Orleans, near the Mississippi River, where he has lived all his life. Inspired by his father, an amateur pianist, he was self-taught until he began taking lessons after a stint in the Air Force. His first professional job was at a local club with bassist Lloyd Lambert’s rhythm and blues band. The group soon took the road and backed up a number of R&B stars, including Joe Turner, T-Bone Walker, and Guitar Slim. Constant travel could be grueling, and though he says everyone was like a family, Cotton left in 1958, after four years. Legendary Guitar Slim had warned him about the dangers of leading a fast life on the road: “Cotton, you’re going to outlive me ‘cause I’m living two or three days to your one.” Back in New Orleans, Cotton played the next few years with local R&B groups, including the band of legendary performer-producer Dave Bartholomew. During the 1970s he began playing traditional jazz in Bourbon Street nightclubs. His longest employer, trumpeter Wallace Davenport, was the first to take Cotton on a European tour. Though fans went wild when he played featured solos, his desire for extended road trips had long been over. In 1980 a stroke rendered his wife an invalid, and for the next 17 years - until her death, in 1997 - Cotton attended to her every need with the loving devotion of a saint. “In some cities you go to there’s no music. I don’t see how people can live there.”

Bio Provided by FQF Inc.


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