Emanuel Perez was born on December 28, 1871 in New Orleans, Louisiana into a Creole of Color family of Spanish, French and African descent. At the turn of the century, he became a member of the Onward Brass Band, leading it from 1903 to 1930. The Onward Brass Band was one of the most respected of its day that included King Oliver, Peter Bocage, Henry Kimball, Lorenzo Tio, Luis Tio, George Baquet, Isidore Barbarin, and Benny Williams. The Perez and Oliver two cornet, or “trumpet” team, was one of the most renowned in New Orleans.
Manuel started his own brass band, called the Imperial Orchestra, which operated from 1901 to 1908. A move north to Chicago, Illinois in 1915 saw him playing with Charles Elgar’s Creole Orchestra at the Arsonia Cafe and also with the Arthur Sims Band. Returning to the Crescent City in the Twenties, he played in Storyville, on steamboat excursions with Fate Marable and in parades with the Maple Leaf Orchestra.
Suffering a stroke in 1930, he left music during this period to work with his brother, who owned a moving company, while he ran the used furniture store. Cornetist Manuel Perez, who was a sight-reader and highly technical musician, He would go on to suffer a series of strokes that left him disabled and eventually caused his death in 1946 in New York City.
Quinn Brown Wilson was born on December 26, 1908 in Chicago, Illinois and played violin as a child. Studying composition and arrangement in his youth, he had his first professional experience in the mid-1920s, playing with Tiny Parham, Walter Barnes, Jelly Roll Morton, Erskine Tate, and Richard M. Jones.
The 1930s saw Quinn arranging and playing bass with Earl Hines from 1931 to 1939, in addition to playing bass on record with Jimmie Noone. Not limiting himself to just playing jazz, in the 1940s he began playing electric bass and started recording with R&B and blues musicians, including Lefty Bates and John Lee Hooker.
He continued to play jazz as well, working with Bill Reinhardt in the 1960s and Joe Kelly in the 1970s. Bassist and tubist Quinn Wilson passed away on June 14, 1978 in Evanston, Illinois.
More Posts: bass
Cedric Wallace was born August 3, 1909 in Miami, Florida. He moved to New York City in the 1930s, where he first started playing in a band led by Reggie Johnson at the Saratoga Club.
Later in the decade Wallace worked with Jimmie Lunceford before joining Fats Waller’s band from 1938-1942, the association for which he is best known. He played with Waller at the peak of his popularity and plays on many of his biggest hits.
He also recorded with Una Mae Carlisle, Maxine Sullivan, Champion Jack Dupree, Pat Flowers, Gene Sedric, and Dean Martin. Cedric led his own ensemble in New York in the 1940s which featured Eddie Gibbs on bass for a time, and continued to perform well into the 1970s.
Double-bassist Cedric Wallace passed away on August 19, 1985 in New York City.
More Posts: bass
Johnny St. Cyr was born on April 17, 1890 in New Orleans, Louisiana. St. He led several bands in the Crescent City beginning around 1905 and performed on the riverboats with Fate Marable. He played for several leading New Orleans bands including A.J. Piron, the Superior, Olympia and Tuxedo bands before moving to Chicago, Illinois in 1923 with King Oliver.
He is most commonly remembered as a member of Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five and Hot Seven bands. He also played and recorded with Jelly Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers. St. Cyr also performed with Don Cook’s Dreamland Orchestra. He composed the popular standard Oriental Strut, noted for its adventurous chord sequence.
In 1930 Johnny returned to New Orleans to make a living as a plasterer while still playing with local bands led by Paul Barbarin or Alphonse Picou. In 1955 he moved to Los Angeles, California and returned to music full time. From 1961 until his death in 1966, he was the bandleader of the Young Men from New Orleans that featured Barney Bigard, performers at Disneyland.
Banjoist and guitarist Johnny St. Cyr passed away on June 17, 1966 in Los Angeles, California.
Oscar “Papa” Celestin was born on January 1, 1884 in Napoleonville, Louisiana to a Creole family. As a youth he worked on rural Louisiana plantations but eager for a better life, he worked as a cook for the Texas & Pacific Railroad, saved up money and bought used musical instruments. He played guitar and trombone before deciding on cornet as his main instrument. He took music lessons from Claiborne Williams, who traveled down the Bayou Lafourche from Donaldsonville.
Celestin played with the Algiers Brass Band by the early 1900s, and with various small town bands before moving to New Orleans in 1904, at age 20. There he played with the Imperial, Indiana, Henry Allen senior’s Olympia Brass Band, and Jack Carey’s dance band. Early in his career he was sometimes known as Sonny Celestin. Around 1910 he landed a job as leader of the house band at the Tuxedo Dance Hall on North Franklin St. at the edge of Storyville.
Keeping the name Tuxedo as the band’s name after the Dance Hall closed, they dressed in tuxedos and became one of the most popular bands hired for society functions, both black and white. He co-led the Tuxedo Band with trombonist William Ridgely and made their first recordings during the Okeh Records field trip to New Orleans in 1925. Following a fallout with Ridgely, the two led competing Tuxedo bands for about five years. Celestin’s Original Tuxedo Orchestra had Louis Armstrong, Bill Mathews, Octave Crosby, Christopher Goldston, Joe Oliver, Mutt Carey, Alphonse Picou and Ricard Alexis as a members over the years and made an additional series of recordings for Columbia Records through the 1920s. He also led the Tuxedo Brass Band, one of the top brass bands in the city.
Forced out of the business by depression economics, Papa worked in a shipyard until putting together another band after the World War II. The new Tuxedo Brass Band was tremendously popular and became a New Orleans tourist attraction. By 1953 he appeared in the travelogue Cinerama Holiday, became a regular feature at the Paddock Lounge on Bourbon Street and gave a command performance for President Eisenhower at the White House. He made regular radio broadcasts, television appearance, and more recordings with his last recording was singing on Marie LaVeau in 1954.
Bandleader, trumpeter, cornetist and vocalist Papa Celestin passed away in New Orleans, Louisiana on December 15, 1954, amassing 4000 people who marched in his funeral parade. The Jazz Foundation of New Orleans had a bust made and donated to the Delgado Museum in New Orleans, in honor of his contributions to the genre. #preserving genius