Some Important
Early New Orleans Jazz Bands
Christen's Brass Band, Southern Park, 1890 - The only "Southern Park" I could find
mention of was Parkview Place (Southern Park), bounded by Bayou St. John, Dumaine
and Carrollton.  Band leader, Frank George Christen, is in the middle of the back row.
Frank Christen's Band on Quarellas Pier at Milneburg, on Lake Pontchartrain, 1905
"Papa" Jack Laine's Band - By the age of 16, Laine (above on drums) had led both
string and brass bands; he led a drum & bugle corps during the Spanish American War.  
Mr. Laine was out of the music business by the end of WWI, but his influence was
important enough that it affected the course of jazz.  He spent his life in New Orleans
and died at the age of 93, having been honored many times in his later years for his
contributions to jazz.
The Original Dixieland Jazz Band made the first jazz recording in 1917 and they were
the first New Orleans band to make an impact in New York City.  Some early members
of the band were:  leader, Nick La Rocca; Alcie Nunez; Johnny Stein; Henry Ragas &
Eddie Edwards.  The 1918 ODJB recording of Nick La Rocca's "Tiger Rag" has been
placed on the U.S. Library of Congress National Recording Registry.  See more about
this band on the
Nick La Rocca page.
Above:  Oscar "Papa" Celestin's Original Tuxedo Jazz Orchestra, 1926 -
Papa Celestin was one of the great early jazz men; Louis Armstrong and
many other notable jazz musicians played in the Orchestra early on.
Born in the Milneburg area of New Orleans, Sharkey Bonano (leaning, with hat on)
and his Kings of Dixieland Band, are shown above performing in the Blue Room,
Roosevelt Hotel, 1955.  Mr. Bonano first recorded in 1925 and played with several
bands until he led a band under his name.  He traveled all over the world and spent
his last active years performing in New Orleans, where he died in 1972.
Sidney Bechet and his band - In the 1920's, Sidney Bechet made some
recordings with Louis Armstrong and these constitute one of the most
important bodies of New Orleans Jazz available.  Duke Ellington said,
"Bechet was, to me, the very epitome of jazz."
Band at one of Tom Anderson's Saloons, Storyville District, bet. 1892-1915
San Jacintos Dance Hall band, Storyville, New Orleans
West End Concert Band
Fate Marable's Orchestra on the  S.S. Capitol, 1920.
Back to   New Orleans & the Birth of Jazz

Back to  Old New Orleans Index

Whispers - Home
Tell a friend about this page:
Imperial Band : Big Eye Louis Nelson, center, clarinet; rear, right, cornetist Manuel Perez
Onward Brass Band, about 1913.  Manuel Perez is at the left; 3rd from left is Peter
Bocage; next to him, Lorenzo Tio, Jr., teacher of many great clarinetists.
Tuxedo Brass Band, also, led by Papa
Celestin.  Three of the musicians in the
photo on the left were destined to be
important names in Chicago days:  
Jimmy Noone (rear, left); John Lindsay
(rear, right);  Johnny St. Cyr (front, right).
This page of bands is by no means comprehensive.  Every time I add a picture, I think of
the dozens of bands that aren't yet represented.  I encourage you to do some research
and learn more about the musicians and bands that made New Orleans Jazz famous.