Fairview Baptist Church Band

Photo © Hogan Jazz Archive, Tulane University

The Fairview Baptist Church Band was formed in the late 1960s by Danny Barker.  Barker was a well-known New Orleans guitar and banjo player who worked with jazz pioneers Jelly Roll Morton and Sidney Bechet, as well as Cab Calloway and Charlie Parker.

Barker initially recruited thirteen year-old Leroy Jones (trumpet) and other young neighborhood musicians.  The band’s early rehearsals emphasized listening to records because Barker thought that having to read sheet music would intimidate his students.  Gregg Stafford (trumpet) noticed the band at a neighborhood parade and soon afterward joined the group, followed by Lucien Barbarin (trombone), and many others. Herlin Riley (drums), Anthony “Tuba Fats” Lacen (tuba), Joe Torregano (clarinet), and brothers Wynton (trumpet) and Branford Marsalis (saxophone) all played in the band.  In addition, Gregory Davis (trumpet), Kevin Harris (saxophone), Kirk Joseph (tuba), and Charles Lucien (trombone) played with the Fairview Band in the early 1970s.

The band’s popularity grew as it became a regular feature of Sunday second line parades.  Their popularity eventually forced the group to disband, however, as Danny Barker received an increasing number of complaints from members of the musicians’ union that the Fairview band was taking their gigs.  Rather than stop performing, however, the young musicians formed the Hurricane Brass Band in 1974, and some members went on to form the Dirty Dozen Brass Band in 1977.

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