Edmond Hall was born on May 15, 1901 in Reserve, Louisiana, into a musical family. His father, Edward, played the clarinet in the Onward Brass Band, joined by Edmond’s maternal uncles, Jules Duhe on trombone, Lawrence Duhe on clarinet, and Edmond Duhe on guitar. The Hall brothers, Robert, Edmond, and Herbert, all became clarinetists, but Edmond was first taught guitar by his uncle Edmond. When Hall finally picked up the clarinet, he played it within a week.
Tired of working as a farm-hand, by 1919 he left for New Orleans where he signed up with the band of Bud Rousell, then with trombonist Jack Cary and blues cornetist Chris Kelley. His first big break came in late 1920, when he went to a dance at Economy Hall, saw Buddy Petit and discovered his clarinet player had left the band and the following Saturday Hall was sitting in with Petit’s band as a replacement until 1922.
Arriving in Pensacola, Florida in 1923, there was a series of band as he joined Lee Collins, then Mack Thomas, the Pensacola Jazzers, where Hall met the young trumpeter Charles “Cootie” Williams, on to “Eagle Eye” Shields, the Alonzo Ross DeLuxe Syncopators, finally in 1928 with pianist Arthur “Happy” Ford.
1929 saw Edmond moving back to New York he joined Charlie Skeet’s band, followed by Claude Hopkins and an invitation to play the Savoy Ballroom. By 1935 he left Hopkins and took residency in Billy Hicks’ Sizzling Six. Hall’s new sound on the clarinet led him to recording with the big stars and in 1937 he had his first recording session with Billie Holiday, sitting alongside tenor saxophonist Lester Young. Leaving Hicks he stepped into Café Society, joining Joe Sullivan’s band in late 1937. In between the regular job at the Cafe Society he recorded with Bud Freeman, Teddy Wilson, Charlie Christian, Henry “Red” Allen, J.C. Higginbotham, Art Tatum, Big Joe Turner, Hot Lips Page, Zutty Singleton, Meade Lux Lewis, Big Sid Catlett, Josh White, Ida Cox, Coleman Hawkins, Helen Ward, Vic Dickenson, Sidney de Paris, Wild Bill Davison, Eddie Heywood, Roy Eldridge and Jack Teagarden among others.
In 1941 Edmond led his first recording session as a leader, joined Teddy Wilson’s outfit, and made recordings as Edmond Hall’s Blue Note Jazzmen, the Edmond Hall Sextet, the Edmond Hall Celeste Quartet, Edmond Hall’s Star Quintet, Ed Hall and the Big City Jazzmen, and Edmond Hall’s Swingtet. Very popular among the musicians and critics and was frequently invited to the New York Town Hall Concerts led by Eddie Condon.
By 1944 Hall began fronting his own band, becoming a draw for Café Society. More recording dates followed for the famous Commodore Records and Blue Note labels. While business at the Café Society was exceedingly good, Hall appeared at Town Hall Concerts in between. Hall relocated successfully with his band to the Café Society Uptown and would also play for World War II servicemen.
Throughout his career he would perform with pianist George Wein, Louis Armstrong’s All Stars, tour Europe, settle in Los Angeles, California to shoot the film High Society with Grace Kelly and Bing Crosby, and appear on the Ed Sullivan Show. In 1952, Hall, Buzzy Drootin and Ralph Sutton appeared as the Ralph Sutton Trio in Saint Louis, where they played the Encore Lounge for several weeks and were the first mixed trio there. He received the Esquire Magazine Silver Award for clarinet, a certificate for nomination as one of the outstanding jazz artists of 1961 from Playboy Magazine and was awarded as the best Clarinetist by the English Melody Maker.
Clarinetist and bandleader Edmond Hall, who also played alto and baritone saxophones and is perhaps best known for the 1941 chamber jazz song Profoundly Blue, which is regarded as a pre-World War II jazz classic, passed away on February 11, 1967 in Boston, Massachusetts.
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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Glauco Masetti was born on April 19, 1922 in Milan, Italy and was an autodidact on reed instruments as well as a classically trained violinist, attending the Milan and Turin conservatories.
In the late 1940s he worked with Gil Cuppini for the first time, an association that would continue well into the latter part of the 1960s. He worked often as a session musician in the first half of the 1950s, with Gianni Basso and Oscar Valdambrini among others.
He led his own ensemble from 1955, and played with Eraldo Volonté and Chet Baker. In the Sixties, he also played with Giorgio Gaslini during that decade. Clarinetist and alto saxophonist Glauco Masetti passed away on May 27, 2001 in Milan.
Matt Lavelle was born on April 11, born 1970 in Paterson, New Jersey and began his music career with a high school big band tour of the Soviet Union in 1988. He followed this with a five-year period of study with Hildred Humphries, a Swing era veteran who played with Count Basie, Billie Holiday and others.
During this period of study he played trumpet in Hildred’s band, then made his move on New York City and played straight-ahead jazz until 1995 when he relocated to Kingston, New York and studied the bass clarinet. Four years later Lavelle returned to New York seeking out what is known as the Downtown community. He has studied with Ornette Coleman adding alto clarinet to his instrumental arsenal.
Lavelle has played and toured with William Parker, Sabir Mateen, as well as with his own trio, an improvisation collective known as Eye Contact. He was key in the resurgence and return of avant jazz man Giuseppi Logan, helping him return to playing after a 45-year absence, and recording a new record released in spring 2010.
trumpet, flugelhorn and bass clarinet player Matt Lavelle, who has released a dozen albums as a leader or in duo and has recorded another ten as a sideman, continues to perform, record and tour.
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.