Saturday, February 6, 2010

DANNY BARKER January 13, 1909 – March 13, 1994

Hear Me Talkin' To Ya: The Story of Jazz As Told By the Men Who Made It, a 1955 book by Nat Shapiro and Nat Hentoff

When I was growing up, Jelly Roll was a legend and the same with Bechet. You'd hear of Jelly Roll, how he'd left and how he'd set the pace. Somebody would see him in Chicago and bring back the news of how successful he was there. And he was often importing some New Orleans musicians.

It was Jelly Roll who brought Buddy Petit to California, but Buddy didn't like it and came back to New Orleans.

A dozen books should have been written about Buddy Petit. The way people rave over Dempsey, Joe Louis, or Ben Hogan today, that's how great Petit was when he played. The kids would come up and say, "Can I shake your hand, Mr. Petit?" And on parades, they'd be ten deep around Buddy as he walked along blowing. He was a little, Indian-looking sort of guy. He talked broken patois.

It's this country's fault that he didn't record. They were recording Caruso at that time, but this country didn't want to accept its heritage in the music of men like Buddy Petit. But those rich millionaires – the Fords and those people – will go over to Paris and buy a Cezanne or a Goya, pay fifty thousand dollars for it, and put it in a museum. But we've got our own cultural heritage here and we ignore it.

Or like the guy in Philadelphia who has that fabulous art collection and just lets certain people come to see it. You dig what I'm talking about? When here, in jazz, is something you can hear and enjoy here, right now.

Papa Celestin should take weeks and weeks and tell about his career in detail from day to day, as much as he remembers. And there's a whole story, Picou tells me, about the Negro symphony that used to be in New Orleans. It's not too late to get some of the older men to tell their stories.

The story of jazz should be in all the schools, so the children would know where their music comes from. They should give money so that people could go out West and study and record cowboys and Western folklore. The kids in the schools today think their country has nothing.

You take CBS and NBC and them kind of people. They have hours and hours of putting Tyrone Power and Ingrid Bergman to portraying some French story that happened years ago, while right here they have John Henry, Stack O'Lee, Casey Jones, and all them kings of fabulous stories that American kids know nothing about. So they spend millions of dollars for all that other kind of foolishness.

You remember that movie, NEW ORLEANS, that had Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday? Well, them people took pictures of every segment of New Orleans. They made their pictures as authentic as they could get them, but they didn't put any of it in the movie, any of the authentic stuff, because they wanted the movie commercial. They showed the leading man posing for fifteen minutes, fixing his tie, while they should have been showing the people, the real thing.

For more information on Danny Barker please visit:

walking distance from the Jelly Roll House is the birthplace of Danny Barker, I took these photo's recently on a walk of the neighborhood...

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