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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!


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Monday, March 11, 2013

While We Danced At The Mardi Gras- Louis Cottrell and his New Orleans Jazz Band

Louis Albert Cottrell, Jr. (March 7, 1911, New Orleans - March 21, 1978, New Orleans) was a Louisiana Creole jazz clarinetist and tenor saxophonist. He was the son of the influential drummer Louis Cottrell, Sr., and grandfather of New Orleans jazz drummer Louis Cottrell. As leader of the Heritage Hall Jazz Band, he performed at the famous Carnegie Hall in 1974 Louis Cottrell was born into an upper-class Creole musical family. His father, Louis "Old Man" Cottrell, Sr., was a famed drummer, and cornetist Manny Perez was his godfather. The young Cottrell grew up around such great musicians as Barney Bigard, John Robichaux, and A.J. Piron. Cottrell studied clarinet under Lorenzo Tio, Jr. and Bigard. He began his career in the 1920s with the Golden Rule Orchestra, and then in 1925 played with Paul "Polo" Barnes. Later in the 1920s he worked with Chris Kelly and Kid Rena, then in 1929 found work on the riverboat SS Island Queen with Lawrence Marrero's Young Tuxedo Brass Band and Sidney Desvigne. These were the years when he became a prominent union organizer. He joined Don Albert's orchestra soon after, recording an album with the orchestra in 1935 under the Vocalion label. He tried his hand at composing, and with Lloyd Glenn and Albert wrote, "You Don't Love Me (True)." Rhythm and blues bandleader Paul Gayten would later approach Cottrell to record "You Don't Love Me" and it became one of the first hits of the R & B New Orleans era, having made it to the number 5 spot nationally on the R & B top ten charts. Cottrell toured widely throughout North America with Albert until 1939. After leaving Albert he returned to New Orleans, playing with Paul Barbarin in 1940. They would form an enduring collaboration. He performed with A.J. Piron in 1941, then returned to play with Desvigne from 1942 to 1947. In the 1950s he played again with Barbarin, and recorded with him in 1951 and 1955. Cottrell first recorded as a leader in 1961, when he formed the Louis Cottrell Trio to record for Riverside's "Living Legends" series. Barbarin and Cottrell in 1960 revived the Onward Brass Band. As a sideman he recorded with Peter Bocage (1960), Jim Robinson (1961–64), Harold Dejan (1962), Thomas Jefferson (1962), Paul Barbarin at Preservation Hall (1962), Sweet Emma Barrett (1963), Avery Kid Howard (1964), Waldren Joseph (1964–1965), Barbarin's Onward Brass Band (1968, 1968) and Paul "Polo" Barnes (1969). In 1967, Cottrell, went on a U.S.O. tour to entertain troops in Vietnam and Thailand. Cottrell took over the Onward Brass Band after Paul Barbarin's death in 1969. He formed the Heritage Hall Jazz Band in 1971 and also led that ensemble up until his death. In its day, Heritage Hall rivaled the better known Preservation Hall, both located in the French Quarter. It was during this period in 1974 that the Heritage Hall Jazz Band, under Cottrell's leadership, played Carnegie Hall in New York City. Blance Thomas was the featured vocalist. The recording of the live concert can be found on Viko. He made several television appearances, including Perry Como's Spring in New Orleans in 1976,and The Mike Douglas Show. He recorded "Big Lip Blues" on the Academy Award-nominated soundtrack Pretty Baby (1978), and had a cameo appearance in the movie. Louis Cottrell died suddenly at his home after a short illness in 1978 at the age of 67 Fittingly, he was honored with a jazz funeral, as thousands assembled in a small Gentilly Catholic church to bid him farewell. Inspired by this musical legacy, Cottrell's grandson, Louis Cottrell, became a drummer and performed with the Young Tuxedo Brass Band, Dr. Michael White and numerous other traditional jazz bands.
  
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