Sing Miller was born James Miller in New Orleans, Louisiana on June 17, 1914. He started out his career singing with the Harmonizing Browns Quartet and playing banjo, but in the late 1920s he switched to piano. He did solo freelance work and as an accompanist in New Orleans in the 1930s, playing with Percy Humphrey for a time.
Serving in the military during World War II, after his discharge he played with Earl Foster’s band from 1945 to 1961. During the 1960s he was a regular at Preservation Hall, working with Kid Thomas Valentine, Kid Sheik Colar, The Humphrey Brothers, Jim Robinson, and Polo Barnes. He did asolo tours of Europe in 1979 and 1981, and recorded two full-length albums under his own name, a 1972 effort for Dixie Records and one in 1978 for Smoky Mary.
Pianist Sing Miller, who was a longtime performer on the New Orleans jazz scene, passed away on May 18, 1990.
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Lawrence Duhé was born April 30, 1887 in La Place, Louisiana. He played with Kid Ory in his youth, and followed Ory to New Orleans, Louisiana. There he played clarinet with Ory, King Oliver, Frankie Duson, and led his own band in Storyville.
Duhé moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1917 and his band became popular in the clubs and dance halls. They played in the stands at the notorious 1919 World Series. During the Roaring Twenties he led Sugar Johnnie’s New Orleans Creole Orchestra comprised of Lil Hardin, Sidney Bechet, King Oliver, Freddie Keppard, tubby Hall and Mutt Carey among others.
By the mid-1920s he had returned to New Orleans and for a time played with Armand J. Piron. After touring with the Rabbit Foot Minstrel Show, Lawrence worked out of Lafayette and New Iberia in Southwest Louisiana with such musicians as Evan Thomas and Bunk Johnson before retiring from music in the 1940s.
Clarinetist and bandleader Lawrence Duhé, passed away in Lafayette, Louisiana in 1960.
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Saul “Sonny” Berman was born on April 21, 1925 in New Haven, Connecticut. He began touring at age sixteen and went on to work with Louis Prima, Harry James and Benny Goodman but is perhaps best known for his later work with Woody Herman.
Berman was distinguished by his passionate and innovative soloing and his versatility of tone, ranging from bold and emotional to sweetly muted. He also had a sense of humor which often made its way into a playfulness and joyfulness found in his solo work.
Trumpeter Sonny Berman died at the age of 21 in New York City from a drug overdose on January 16, 1947.
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Theodore “Wingie” Carpenter was born on April 15, 1898 in St. Louis, Missouri. He lost his left arm as the result of an accident during his early teens, with the amputation performed by a noted surgeon who was an uncle of jazz musician Doc Cheatham. Sometime later, he took up the trumpet and by 1920 he was working in traveling carnival shows, and in 1921 he toured with Herbert’s Minstrel Band.
By 1926 he had settled in Cincinnati, Ohio and worked with Wes Helvey, Clarence Paige, Zack Whyte, and Speed Webb. In 1927, Wingie played in Buffalo, New York, with Eugene Primus. Off and on from late 1926 through 1928, he was featured on the Whitman Sisters’ Show with pianist Troy Snapp’s band.
During the early 1930s the trumpeter was featured with Smiling Boy Steward’s Celery City Serenaders and another Florida band led by Bill Lacey. In the mid-1930s, he became a touring regular with bandleaders including Jack Ellis, Dick Bunch, and Jesse Stone. By the late 1930s, Carpenter settled in New York City, where he worked with Skeets Tolbert and Fitz Weston.
From 1939 on, Wingie worked as the leader of his own band through the 1960s, playing occasional dance dates and working for periods at well-known clubs such as The Black Cat, The New Capitol, Tony Pastor’s The Yeah Man, and other venues. He composed several works not limited to Look Out Papa Don’t You Bend Down, Preachin’ Trumpet Blues, Put Me Back In The Alley, Rhythm of The Dishes and Pans, and Team Up.
Trumpeter, vocalist and bandleader Wingie Carpenter, who was one of several one-armed trumpeters who worked in the music business, including similarly nicknamed Wingy Manone, passed away on July 21, 1975 in New York City.
Pat LaBarbera was born Pascel Emmanuel LaBarbera on April 7, 1944 in Mt. Morris, New York. He began as a soloist in Buddy Rich bands from 1967–1973 and went on to work with Elvin Jones in 1975 and touring Europe with him in 1979. While working with Rich, he was also working in groups led by Woody Herman and Louie Bellson, as well as playing with Carlos Santana.
He moved to Toronto, Ontario in 1974 and is a on the faculty at Humber College. LaBarbera has played a major role in the development of a generation of Canadian saxophonists. He has released a handful of albums as a leader since 1975 and another two-dozen as a sideman. In 2000, he won a Juno Award for Best Traditional Instrumental Jazz Album for Deep in a Dream.
He is the brother of trumpeter John LaBarbera with who he is a part of his big band, and drummer Joe LaBarbera and worked with the Dave McMurdo Jazz Orchestra, Denny Christianson, Jan Jarczyk. Tenor, alto and soprano saxophonist, clarinetist, and flautist Pat LaBarbera continues to teach, perform and record.