A Life in Jazz
Since the 1950s, when Nat Hentoff and Nat Shapiro published Heah Me Talkin' to Ya, an oral history of jazz which drew heavily on Danny Barker's reminiscences, jazz buffs have waited impatiently for Barker's full account of his life in jazz.
Finally, Danny Barker--a jazz guitarist who grew up and played in New Orleans and later in New York with the major swing orchestras of Lucky Millinder and Cab Calloway of the 1930s--offers us the story of his life in music, beginning with the children's "spasm" bands of the seventh ward of New Orleans, through his experience in brass bands and jazz funerals, to his early days on the road with the blues singer Little Brother Montgomery. He covers, in depth, his involvement in the New York 1930s jazz scene, highlighting his work with the lesser-known bands of Fess Williams and Albert Nicholas, as well as his work with Jelly Roll Morton, Millinder, Benny Carter, Calloway, and Dizzy Gillespie. Barker also describes the details of his career since the 1940s, including the New York dixieland scene at Ryan's and Condon's, his work with Wilbur de Paris, and his return to New Orleans. Barker's memoirs brilliantly recreate the jazz world of New Orleans and the pioneer musicians of the day, ranking as one of the basic documents in jazz history.
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