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Satchmo.com - On This Day in Louisiana Music History

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FEBRUARY 01
1940 Late jazz drummer extraordinaire James Black was born in New Orleans in 1940
1951 Swamp blues guitarist Sonny Landreth was born in Canton, MS in 1951
1969 "Sophisticated Cissy" by The Meters entered the Billboard R&B Chart in 1969 (it later reached the #7 spot)

FEBRUARY 02
1888 Trad jazz guitarist and tuba player Louis Keppard was born in New Orleans in 1888; Louis was the brother of cornet "king" Freddie Keppard
1904 Late saxophone and banjo player Emanuel Paul was born in New Orleans in 1904. Paul was a long time member of the Eureka Brass Band. See this interview with Emanuel Paul.
1938 Late guitarist and vocalist Rusty Kershaw was born (Russell Lee Kershaw) in Tiel Ridge, Louisiana in 1938. Rusty was the brother of fiddler Doug Kershaw and a cousin of country music star Sammy Kershaw. He first played with brothers Doug and Peewee Kershaw as the Continental Playboys in the late 1940s. The duo of Rusty & Doug Kershaw had a string of country hits in the 1950s and early 60s. Later recording sessions by Rusty included Neil Young's "On the Beach" and the solo album "Now & Then" (which featured guest appearances by Art Neville, Neil Young, Ben Keith, and The Subdudes). Rusty passed away in New Orleans in 2001 at age 63.
1957 Fats Domino appeared on TV's "Perry Como Show" in 1957; he performed "Blueberry Hill" and "Blue Monday"
1961 Houma, LA guitar slinger Kevin Koike was born in Hawaii in 1961
1993 Crooner Harry Connick, Jr. was given a conditional release from illegal gun possession charges by a New York court in 1993; Connick was arrested on 12/27/92 when he was caught at New York's JFK Airport trying to carry an unloaded pistol aboard a flight to New Orleans

FEBRUARY 3
1896 Noted trad jazz trumpeter Kid Thomas Valentine was born in Reserve, LA in 1896; Kid Thomas joined the Pickwick Brass Band at age 14; worked in a variety of bands, including his own Algiers Stompers; he became a regular at Preservation Hall in the 60's, often working with George Lewis
1911 Late blues man Jesse "Babyface" Thomas was born in Logansport, LA in 1911
19?? Singer/songwriter Jesse Winchester walked off stage 30 minutes into a concert in Atlanta; several days later, he announced his retirement from the concert circuit citing emotional and physical exhaustion
1936 Late club owner and jazz supporter Charlie Bering was born Houston, TX in 1936; Bering moved to New Orleans in 1971, where he became co-proprietor of noted jazz club Lu & Charlie's; he booked music for the 1984 World's Fair, and (for 20 years) booked most of the modern jazz acts that appeared at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival; Bering also founded Charlie B's, a jazz venue featuring local and national artists located on Convention Center Blvd.
1996 Al Hirt and Dr. John appeared on the CBS series "Touched By An Angel" on this day in 1996
2001 The grand opening of "Kermit Ruffins Jazz and Blues Hall" took place on this day in 2001. The festivities were carried live on radio (and webcast) courtesy of WWOZ. The club, located at 1533 St. Philip Street in the Treme neighborhood, closed down in the fall of 2001.

FEBRUARY 4
1909 Late sax player and bandleader Harold Dejan was born in New Orleans in 1909; Dejan reformed and led the Olympia Brass Band (originally formed in the 1880's) in the 1950's, and also founded the the Young Olympians (who's members went on to form the Soul Rebels), a brass band featuring young players, to ensure the band's message and tradition carried on.
1940 Late singer, songwriter and former Louisiana Governer Jimmie Davis (1899-2000) recorded his classic "You Are My Sunshine" for the Decca label in 1940
1950 "Confused" by New Orleans-born guitar legend Lonnie Johnson entered R&B chart in 1950; the tune was written by Paul Gayten, who recorded the song in 1949 (Regal 3234).
1961 Legendary clarinetist Alphonse Picou passed away in New Orleans in 1961 at age 82; Picou began playing with the Accordiana Band in 1894, after which he was with his own Independence Band, the Excelsior Brass Band, the Superior Orchestra (with Bunk Johnson), Freddie Keppard's Olympia Band and George Moret; after a brief stay in Chicago circa 1917, Picou returned to New Orleans and worked with the Tuxedo Brass Band; he recorded with Kid Rena and Papa Celestin (in the 40's and 50's), and led his own group at The Paddock in the 50's; he is credited for developing the famed piccolo solo from "High Society"

FEBRUARY 5
1933 Singer and songwriter Claude King was born in Keithville, LA in 1923. The singer and songwriter was best known for his 1962 crossover hit "Wolverton Mountain" (written by Merle Kilgore), which hit #1 on the country charts and #6 on the pop charts. King passed away in Shreveport, LA on March 7, 2013.
1924 Louis Armstrong married musician and composer Lil Hardin at City Hall in Chicago in 1924. The couple met while playing in King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band.
1973 New Orleans born cornetist, trombone player, and bandleader Merritt Brunies passed away in Biloxi, MS in 1973 at age 77; Merritt's brothers Georg, Abbie, Henry and Richard were also trad jazz musicians
2006 Super Bowl XL was held at Ford Field in Detroit in 2006. The national anthem was performed by Aretha Franklin and Aaron Neville, accompanied by Dr. John on piano. The score of the game was Pittsburgh Steelers 21, Seattle Seahawks 10. Watch a youtube clip of the performance (audio only). Watch a Saturday Night Live skit on the anthem performance.

FEBRUARY 06
1902 Noted songwriter Leon Rene was born in Covington, LA in 1902; his work included Louis Armstromg's "Sleepy Time Down South" and Doc Cheatham's "That's My Home"
1902 Late trad jazz trombonist Georg Brunis was born (George Clarence Brunies) in New Orleans in 1902; Brunis was a member of Papa Jack Laine's "Kid" band at age 8; he moved to Chicago in 1919 and played with Paul Mares' Friar's Society Orchestra which later became the New Orleans Rhythm Kings; other work included stints with Ted Lewis, Sharkey Bonano, Louis Prima, Wingy Manone, Muggsy Spanier, and many others.
1944 Keyboard player, vocalist, songwriter and producer Willie Tee was born (Wilson Turbinton) in New Orleans in 1944. Willie released several singles in the 1960s (including the Top 20 R&B hit "Teasin' You") and later formed funk band The Gaturs with his brother, saxophonist Earl Turbinton. He also produced and provided the backing for the first 2 Wild Magnolias albums. Willie Tee passed away in 2007 at age 63. Read more on Willie.
1971 Zydeco accordionist, singer and bandleader Geno Delafose was born in Eunice, Louisiana in 1971. He began performing with his father's band John Delafose and the Eunice Playboys at age 8. He formed his own group (Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie) after his father passed away in 1994. Delafose also operates a ranch in Duralde, Louisiana, where he raises cattle and horses.
1979 Cajun musicians and brothers Will Balfa and Rodney Balfa (of Balfa Brothers fame) were killed in an automobile accident near Bunkie, Louisiana in 1979.

FEBRUARY 07
1926 New Orleans blues legend Guitar Slim (Eddie Jones) passed away in New York City in 1959 at age 32; Slim's "The Things That I Used to Do" (recorded at Cosimo Matassa's J&M Studio in New Orleans; backed by Lloyd Lambert's band with Ray Charles on piano) topped the R&B chart for 14 weeks in 1954
1934 Late blues guitarist, songwriter and producer Earl King was born (Earl Silas Johnson) in New Orleans in 1934; notable King tunes included "Those Lonely, Lonely Nights", "Come On (Let the Good Times Roll)", "Do-Re-Mi", "Trick Bag" and the Mardi Gras classic "Big Chief".

FEBRUARY 08
1889 Blues guitar pioneer Alonzo "Lonnie" Johnson was born in New Orleans in 1889; his recording career lasted over 40 years, including sessions in the 20's with Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington; Johnson was a major influence on many blues and jazz guitarists, including Robert Johnson, T-Bone Walker, Lowell Fulson and B.B. King
1926 Sax player Norwood "Pony" Poindexter was born in New Orleans in 1926; the prolific sideman and band leader passed away in Oakland, CA in 1988
1947 Louis Armstrong performed at New York's famed Carnegie Hall in 1947; the concert, available on CD, featured Louis performing sets with his 16 piece big band and with Edmond Hall's sextet
1952 Webb Pierce entered the country music charts for the first time, with "Wondering" in 1952; the late West Monroe, LA native went on to hit the charts 96 times, including 13 #1 hits
1960 Legendary Gospel singer Archie Brownlee (of The Five Blind Boys of Mississippi fame) passed away in New Orleans in 1960 at age 35

FEBRUARY 9
1939 Guitarist and songwriter Red Lane was born in Zona, Louisiana in 1939; Lane has recorded with Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and many others.
1940 Swamp pop singer Jivin' Gene was born (Gene Bourgeois) in Port Arthur, TX in 1940; Gene wrote and recorded the swamp pop classic "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do", which hit the national charts in 1959
1959 "Stagger Lee" (ABC-Paramount 9972) by New Orleans R&B singer Lloyd Price hit #1 on the Pop Chart and #1 on the R&B Chart on this day in 1959. The song, which went on sell over a million copies, held the top spot on both charts for 4 weeks. It was included in Rolling Stone magazine's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" (Issue RS963).

FEBRUARY 10
1916 Noted Cajun accordionist Aldus Roger was born in Carencro, LA in 1916; Roger hosted the weekly "Aldus Roger & The Lafayette Playboys" television show over KLFY TV-10 in Lafayette from 1955 to 1970; he passed away in April 1999 at age 83
1931 New Orleans piano man Ronnie Kole was born in Chicago in 1931
1932 Late Zydeco legend Rockin' Dopsie was born (Alton Joseph Rubin) in Carencro, LA in 1932; sons Rockin' Dopsie, Jr. and Dwayne Dopsie are carrying on their father's tradition
1948 The New Orleans Jazz Club was founded on this day in 1948
1966 Tireless tuba player Philip Frazier was born in New Orleans in 1966; Philip founded the ReBirth Brass Band in 1983, and has led the group since it's inception
1999 Britney Spears' debut album "...Baby One More Time" was certified platinum by the RIAA in 1999 (it has since sold over 13 million copies).

FEBRUARY 11
1931 Treme Brass Band beat keeper, grand marshal, and dapper man about town Uncle Lionel Batiste (Lionel Paul Batiste, Sr.) was born in New Orleans in 1932. Uncle Lionel passed away on July 8, 2012
1937 Blues guitarist and vocalist Phillip Walker was born in Walsh, LA in 1937; Walker joined Clifton Chenier's band in 1953 at age 16; he has recorded with Lonesome Sundown, Percy Mayfield, and Lowell Fulson, plus has several solo albums to his credit; Walker was nominated for a W.C. Handy Award in 2000 for "Lone Star Shootout", his 1999 collaboration with fellow Louisiana-born guitarists Lonnie Brooks, Long John Hunter and Ervin Charles.
1947 Pioneering Zydeco accordionist and bandleader Roy Carrier was born (Joseph Roy Carrier) near Lawtell, Louisiana in 1947. He also owned the popular Zydeco dance hall the Offshore Lounge in Lawtell. Sons Chubby and Troy (Dikki Du) are also wll known musicians. Carrier passed away in 2010 at age 63.
1967 "Tip Toe" by New Orleans-born vocalist and sax player Robert Parker entered the R&B Chart in 1967; outside of the Crescent City, Parker is most well known for his 1966 hit, "Barefootin'".
1967 Trad jazz clarinetist and bandleader Edmond Hall passed away in Boston, MA in 1967 at age 65; the New Orleans native was the son of Onward Brass Band regular, Edward Hall; one of four clarinet playing brothers, Hall worked with Buddy Petit, Zutty Singleton, Red Allen, Eddie Condon, and others; he was a member of Louis Armstrong's All-Stars from 1955-58, and also performed with Satchmo at the famed Carnegie Hall Concert in 1947.
1984 Zydeco accordionist and bandleader Gerard Delafose was born in Eunice, LA. Gerard is the grandson of the late John Delafose and the nephew of Geno Delafose.
1988 Guitarist and prolific arranger/session player Rene Hall passed away in Los Angeles in 1988; the Morgan City, LA native played banjo and guitar with jazz bands (A.J. Piron, Sam Morgan, Sidney Desvigne) in New Orleans before moving to New York in the 1930's (working with Wynonie Harris, The Cadillacs, The Dominos), and later to Los Angeles (Ernie Fields Orchestra, B. Bumble and the Stingers, The Dyna-Sores); Hall is also noted for his work with Sam Cooke.
2003 Noted pianist, conductor and arranger Moses Hogan passed away in New Orleans in 2003 at age 45

FEBRUARY 12
1894 Late trombone and sousaphone player Red Clark was born (Joseph Clark, Jr.) in New Orleans in 1894; his father played with the Excelsior and Onward Brass Bands in the late 1800's; Red was a long time member of the Eureka Brass Band, and recorded with them in 1951
1935 Influential R&B drummer Charles "Hungry" Williams was born in New Orleans in 1935; the prolific studio musician recorded at Cosimo's with James Booker, Earl King, Smiley Lewis, Frankie Ford, Fats Domino, Tommy Ridgley, and many others; Williams passed away in New York in 1986
1969 Percussionist and educator Michael Skinkus was born in Reading, PA in 1969; Skinkus, a resident of New Orleans since 1987, has worked with Michael Ray's Cosmic Krewe, New World Funk Ensemble, Los Vecinos, Fredy Omar, Lil' Queenie, Mahfouz, and a host of other local ensembles
1972 New Orleans-born vocalist Donnie Elbert's cover of "I Can't Help Myself" entered the Billboard Top 40 in 1972; it later peaked at #22 on the Pop chart, and hit #14 on the R&B Chart
1987 Singer and songwriter Dustin Sonnier was born in Vatican, Louisiana.

FEBRUARY 13
1900 Late, great trumpeter and vocalist Wingy Manone was born in New Orleans in 1900
1945 Late soul singer King Floyd (of "Groove Me" fame) was born in New Orleans in 1945.
1974 New Orleans' own Dr. John was the headliner for the opening of NYC's famed music club The Bottom Line in 1974; the Doc was joined on stage by Stevie Wonder and Johnny Winter during his performance.
1986 Trumpeter and bandleader Johnny DeDroit passed away in New Orleans in 1986 at age 93; he played at the Orpheum Theater before going on to lead the Grunewald Cave Band at the Grunewald Hotel (now The Fairmont) and the Johnny DeDroit Orchestra

FEBRUARY 14
1957 Rockabilly star Dale Hawkins recorded the rock classic "Susie Q" at Shreveport radio station KWKH in 1957
1951 Cajun fiddler and vocalist Michael Doucet was born in Scott, Louisiana in 1951
1959 Pioneering trad jazz drummer Warren "Baby" Dodds passed away in Chicago in 1959 at age 61; the New Orleans native was the brother of late, great clarinetist Johnny Dodds
2004 Longtime Olympia Brass Band snare drummer Leroy Breaux passed away in New Orleans in 2004 at age 61.

FEBRUARY 15
1889 Early jazz pioneer and cornet "king" Freddie Keppard was born in New Orleans in 1889
1923 Record distributor and label owner Joe Banashak was born in Baltimore, MD in 1923; Banashak founded the Minit (1959) and Instant (1961) record labels in New Orleans, producing hits by Ernie K. Doe, Aaron Neville, Irma Thomas, Benny Spellman, Chris Kenner, Art Neville, and many others
1957 Drummer extraordinaire Herlin Riley was born in New Orleans
1958 Rocker Jerry Lee Lewis appeared on both American Bandstand and The Dick Clark Show (which aired on Saturday nights) in 1958
1960 "Country Boy" by Fats Domino (Imperial 5645) entered the Billboard Top 40 in 1960
1960 "Lady Luck" by Lloyd Price entered the Billboard R&B Chart in 1960; it peaked at the No. 3 position during it's 12 week stay on the chart
1999 Funk patriarch and original Meters drummer Zigaboo Modeliste suffered a minor heart attack early on the morning of February 16th in 1999; a viral problem triggered the attack which occured after one of his gigs in the San Francisco area, where he now lives

FEBRUARY 16
1923 Trad jazz brass player and jazz historian Paul Crawford was born in Atmore, Alabama in 1925; Crawford moved to New Orleans in 1951; he co-led the Crawford-Ferguson Night Owls, and also worked with the New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra, the Olympia Brass Band, and many others; Crawford passed away in New Orleans in July, 1996 after a battle with lung cancer
1961 Tuba great Kirk Joseph was born in New Orleans.
1970 Musician, singer and songwriter Irene Sage was born in 1970.
1980 "(If Only I'd Known) It Was The Last Time" by West Monroe, LA native Webb Pierce entered the Billboard Country Chart in 1980
2011 New Orleans rapper Lil Wayne garnered 588,243 "Likes" on a Facebook post in 2011, earning him a Guinness World Record for "Most Likes on a Facebook item in 24 hours."

FEBRUARY 17
1943 Violinist, composer and bandleader Armand J. Piron passed away in New Orleans in 1943 at age 54; Piron began playing professionally in 1904; he took over the Olympia Orchestra in 1912 when Freddie Keppard moved to California; he formed the Piron & Williams Publishing Company (with Clarence Williams) in 1915, and he later led Piron's New Orleans Orchestra, which played at Tranchina's for several years in the 20's
1984 Blues vocalist, bassist and band leader Andrew "Blueblood" McMahon passed away in Monroe, LA in 1984 at age 57; McMahon was a long time member of Howlin' Wolf's band before recording on his own in 1973
1999 Pop queen Britney Spears twisted her knee while rehearsing for her "Sometimes" video shoot in 1999; the injury delayed the video and forced the cancellation of an appearance on The Tonight Show; also, Britney's debut album "...Baby One More Time" was certified double platinum by the RIAA in 1999

FEBRUARY 18
1892 Noted trad jazz clarinetist Emile Barnes was born at 1640 Piety Street in New Orleans in 1892
1904 Late blues and jazz trumpeter De De Pierce (Joseph De La Croix Pierce) was born in New Orleans in 1904; Pierce worked with several bands during his career, and was also a member of the Young Tuxedo Brass Band; De De toured and recorded extensively with wife Billie Pierce in the 60's; both were regulars at Preservation Hall
1937 Swamp pop bandleader, drummer and vocalist Warren Storm was born (Warren Schexnider) in Abbeville, LA in 1937
1941 New Orleans "Soul Queen" Irma Thomas was born in Ponchatoula, LA in 1941
1966 Jazz trumpeter, vocalist and bandleader Kid Merv was born (Mervin Campbell) in New Orleans in 1966
1986 Trad jazz guitarist and tuba player Louis Keppard passed away in New Orleans in 1986 at age 98; Louis was the brother of cornet "king" Freddie Keppard
2009 Noted R&B vocalist and guitar virtuoso Snooks Eaglin passed away at Ochsner Hospital in New Orleans in 2009. He was 72.

FEBRUARY 19
1903 Cornetist Louis "Kid Shots" Madison was born in New Orleans in 1899; Madison spent time in the Colored Waif's home and played in their band with Louis Armstrong; he went on to play second cornet with Papa Celestin's Original Tuxedo Jazz Band, and recorded with them in 1925 (check out "Careless Love"); in later years he worked with several brass bands; he also recorded with Bunk Johnson and George Lewis
1903 Late saxophone and clarinet player Clarence Hall (photo) was born in Reserve, LA in 1903
1949 "So Tired" by blues guitar legend Lonnie Johnson entered the R&B Chart in 1949 (it peaked at #9)
1956 Musician, singer and songwriter Peter Holsapple was born in Greenwich, Connecticut in 1956; Peter has worked with The dB's, R.E.M., Hootie & The Blowfish, Continental Drifters, and the Peoples' Revolutionary Army of St. Bernard, among others
1972 "It's Four In The Morning" by late country music legend Faron Young hit #1 on the Country Chart in 1972; this was Young's 5th and final #1 hit, although several later tunes cracked the Top 20
1977 Gospel Queen Mahalia Jackson won a Grammy for "Best Soul Gospel Performance" for the album "How I Got Over" on this day in 1977; the album was a posthumous collection of 1954 radio performances along with songs from a 1963 television show

FEBRUARY 20
1954 "Slowly" by West Monroe, LA native Webb Pierce hit #1 on the Country Charts in 1954
1958 Trumpet great and composer Leroy Jones was born in New Orleans in 1958.
1958 Trombone swinger and Big Sam's Funky Nation frontman Sam Williams was born in New Orleans in 1981.
1991 The 1990 Grammy awards were held on this day in 1991; winners included Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville (for their duet "All My Life") and Harry Connick Jr. (for his album "We Are In Love"); non-winning nominees included Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Dr. John, The Basin Brothers, Earl Palmer, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and Linda Hopkins.
1999 Singer and songwriter Lucinda Williams was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live in 1999; she performed "Can't Let Go" and "Too Cool To Be Forgotten"

FEBRUARY 21
1938 Late singer and songwriter Bobby Charles was born (Robert Charles Guidry) in Abbeville, LA in 1938; Charles had two R&B hits in 1956 with "Later, Alligator" (later a hit as "See You Later, Alligator" for Bill Haley & His Comets) and "Only Time Will Tell"; his extensive writing credits also include "Walking To New Orleans" (Fats Domino) and "(I Don't Know Why) But I Do" (Clarence "Frogman" Henry). See more songwriting credits. Charles passed away in 2010 at age 71.
1949 Jazz legend Louis Armstrong was featured on the cover of Time Magazine in 1949; the five page article on Satchmo titled "Louis The First" covered his accomplishments in the jazz world and his upcoming return to New Orleans to reign as "King of Zulu"
2012 Trombone Shorty and Buddy Guy were among the performers on the PBS special "In Performance at The White House: Red White and Blues," taped in Washington DC on February 21, 2012 (Mardi Gras Day). The event, hosted by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, also featured Jeff Beck, Gary Clark Jr., Shemekia Copeland, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Warren Haynes, Mick Jagger, B.B. King, Keb Mo, and Booker T. Jones. From President Obama's opening remarks: "Well, first of all, I want to wish everybody a happy Mardi Gras. I hear Trombone Shorty brought some beads up from New Orleans."

FEBRUARY 22
1936 Late R&B vocalist Ernie K-Doe was born (Ernest Kador, Jr.) in New Orleans in 1936; K-Doe will always be remembered for his 1961 No. 1 hit "Mother-In-Law".
1948 Louis Armstrong performed at the Nice Jazz Festival in France in 1948
1961 Cornetist and Original Dixieland Jazz Band founder Nick LaRocca passed away in New Orleans in 1961 at age 71
1975 "Shame, Shame, Shame" by Shirley & Company (Shirley Goodman, formerly of New Orleans duo Shirley & Lee) entered the Billboard Top 40 in 1975 (it later peaked at No. 12 on the Pop Chart and hit No. 1 on the R&B Chart)
1989 The 1989 Grammy awards were held on this day in 1990; winners included Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville (for their duet "Don't Know Much"); The Neville Brothers (for "Healin' Chant"); Harry Connick, Jr. (for the album "When Harry Met Sally"); Dr. John and Rickie Lee Jones (for "Makin' Whoopee"); and Hank Williams, Jr. with Hank Williams, Sr. (for "There's A Tear In My Beer"); non-winning nominees included Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, and BeauSoleil ... 1989 Grammy trivia: Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville performed their winning song at the event; Linda thanked Aaron's mom in her acceptance speech; Hank Williams, Sr. and Jr. received their first Grammys this year; Milli Vanilli won the Best New Artist category and were subsequently stripped of the honor; Bonnie Raitt won 4 awards, including Album of the Year.
1990 Aaron Neville & Linda Ronstadt performed on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1990 ("All My Life" and "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby").

FEBRUARY 23
1885 The Excelsior Brass Band performed at the opening of the colored exhibits at the New Orleans Exposition in 1885; the band probably included T. V. Baquet on cornet and brothers Lorenzo and Luis Tio on clarinets.
1904 Trad jazz drummer Josiah Frazier (aka Cie Frazier) was born at 1123 Touro Street in New Orleans in 1904; Frazier first recorded with Papa Celestin in 1927; he was with A.J. Piron's Orchestra before going into the Navy; in later years he worked with many local brass bands, and was a regular at Preservation Hall
1918 Late Cajun accordion player, fiddler and vocalist Austin Pitre was born in Ville Platte, LA in 1918; Pitre began playing at dances around Mamou at age 11, and gained prominence in the late 40's with his band The Evangeline Playboys; he performed at the Smithsonian Festival of American Folk Life in Washington, D.C. in 1973 and 1976; Pitre passed away in 1981 at age 63
1970 Blues guitar pioneer Lonnie Johnson made what was to be his last concert appearance at Massey Hall in his adopted home of Toronto in 1970; the New Orleans native passed away in Toronto four months later at age 71
1983 The 1982 Grammy awards were held on this day in 1983; winners included Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown (for his album "Alright Again") and Queen Ida (for "Queen Ida & The Bon Temps Zydeco Band On Tour"); the year's big winner was Toto and their album "Toto IV" (they picked up 6 awards); Toto's vocalist at the time was Vinton, LA native Bobby Kimball.

FEBRUARY 24
1958 Country music star Sammy Kershaw was born in Kaplan, LA in 1958; Sammy is the cousin of brothers Rusty (1938-2001) and Doug Kershaw
1990 "All My Life" by Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville entered the Billboard Top 40 in 1990; the tune went on to win a Grammy for the duo
1987 The 1986 Grammy Awards were held on this day in 1987; the Best Traditional Blues Album award went to "Showdown!" by Albert Collins, Robert Cray and Louisiana native Johnny Copeland; other winners included Wynton Marsalis (for his album "J Mood")
1991 Honky tonk legend Webb Pierce passed away in Nashville in 1991 at age 65; the West Monroe, LA native racked up 13 #1 country singles during his career (and had a total of 97 singles on the charts between 1952 and 1982).
1993 The 1992 Grammy Awards were held on this day in 1993; winners included Branford Marsalis (for his album "I Heard You Twice The First Time") and Dr. John (for "Goin' Back To New Orleans")
1998 Jazz preservationist and WWOZ programmer Betty "Big Mama" Rankin passed away in New Orleans in 1998 at age 79; Rankin hosted "The Moldy Fig" trad jazz show on Saturday mornings for several years; she was the mother of local guitarist John Rankin
1999 The 1998 Grammy Awards were held on this day in 1999; winners included Lucinda Williams (for her album "Car Wheels On A Gravel Road"); a highlight of the ceremony was a tribute to Duke Ellington by Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra (which featured solos by Wynton, Victor Goines and Wessell "Warm Daddy" Anderson)

FEBRUARY 25
1932 Country music legend Faron Young was born in Shreveport, LA in 1932. Young hit the Country Charts 89 times between 1953 and 1989, counting five #1 hits and thirty-seven songs making the Top 10. He appeared in several films, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000. Sadly, Young took his own life in 1996, due to his failing health. For more info, see the book "Live Fast, Love Hard: The Faron Young Story."
1950 "Bon Ton Roula" by swamp blues man Clarence Garlow entered the R&B Chart in 1950.
1974 Trumpeter and vocalist Frank Assunto passed away in New Orleans in 1974 at age 52. Frank, along with brother Fred (on trombone), founded the original Dukes of Dixieland band in 1948
1986 The 1985 Grammy awards were held on this day in 1986. Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis picked up two awards for "Black Codes From The Underground." Zydeco star Rockin' Sidney picked up the award for "Best Ethnic or Trad Folk Recording" for his classic, "My Toot Toot."
1992 The 1991 Grammy awards were held on this day in 1992. Bluesman Buddy Guy brought home the award for Best Contemporary Blues Album for "Damn Right, I've Got The Blues"
1998 The 1997 Grammy awards were held on this day in 1998. Winners included BeauSoleil for "L'Amour ou la Folie" and Doc Cheatham & Nicholas Payton for the instrumental "Stardust." The Chicago Tribune, writing about the trad jazz collaboration, said "Listen to these trumpeters in musical dialogue and you are hearing one end of the 20th century speaking to another."
1998 Grammy-winning accordion player and vocalist Rockin' Sidney Simien passed away in Lake Charles, LA in 1998 at age 59.
1998 Trumpet player Ezall "Money" Quinn passed away in New Orleans in 2001 at age 21. Quinn co-founded the Lil Rascals Brass Band with trombonist Corey Henry in 1987.
2006 Rock & Roll legend Fats Domino was interviewed on the CBS Evening News in 2006.
2010 New Orleans rapper Juvenile (Terius Gray) was arrested by St. Bernard Parish deputies on marijuana possession charges in 2010. Juve and another man were picked up at an Arabi home being used as a recording studio after an anonymous complaint about marijuana smoke coming from the residence. Juvenile later plead guilty and received a suspended 3 month sentence, 6 months probation and $250 fine. Read more.

FEBRUARY 26
1905 Noted jazz writer, historian and musician Bill Russell was born in Canton, MO in 1905; Russell helped "rediscover" Bunk Johnson in 1942 and he documented many New Orleans musicians on his American Music record label; in 1958, he became the first curator of the Hogan Jazz Archives at Tulane University and his interviews helped document the early history of jazz; in later years, Russell played violin with the New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra; Russell passed away in New Orleans in 1992
1913 Cajun accordionist Lionel Cormier was born in Rayne, LA in 1913
1917 Jazz music was recorded for the first time when the Original Dixieland Jazz Band laid down "Livery Stable Blues" and "Dixieland Jass Band One-Step" for the Victor label in New York in 1917
1928 Happy birthday to rock and R&B legend Antoine "Fats" Domino, who was born in New Orleans on this day in 1928
1955 "In The Jailhouse Now" by West Monroe, LA native Webb Pierce hit #1 on the Country Chart in 1955; the tune remained at the top of the chart for an amazing 21 weeks
1958 Godfather of New Orleans funk Allen Toussaint made his first solo recordings on this day in 1958; the ensuing album, titled "The Wild Sound of New Orleans", was issued under the alias Al Tousan
1966 "Baby Scratch My Back" by Swamp Blues legend Slim Harpo hit #1 on the R&B Chart on this day in 1966
1971 Jazz legend Louis Armstrong recorded the holiday poem "The Night Before Christmas" in his Queens, NY living room in 1971; it was Pops' last commercial recording before his passing on July 6, 1971
2003 Bass guitar great Erving Charles Jr. passed away in New Orleans in 2003 at age 61. Charles was a member of Fats Domino's band for 20 years. He also worked with Dave Bartholomew, Snooks Eaglin, Irma Thomas, Marva Wright, Clarence "Frogman" Henry, and many others.

FEBRUARY 27
1909 Late trad jazz musician Harrison Verrett was born in Napoleonville, LA in 1911; Verrett played guitar and banjo with Papa Celestin, Kid Ory, and others; he was also the brother-in-law and a musical mentor of Fats Domino
1911 Late R&B guitarist and zydeco pioneer Clarence Garlow was born in Welsh, LA in 1911; Garlow had one of the first zydeco hits with "Bon Ton Roula" in 1950; he retired from performing in the mid 70's and became a disk jockey at KJET in Beaumont
1928 Late guitarist Roy Montrell was born in New Orleans in 1928; Montrell was a prolific session player, working for the Specialty and Ace labels, and later for Allen Toussaint's studio band and the AFO (All For One) label; he was also a long time member and leader of Fats Domino's band
1940 Arranger and composer Les Hooper was born in Baton Rouge, LA in 1940
1965 "Teasin' You" by Willie Tee (Wilson Turbinton) entered the Billboard R&B Chart in 1965; it peaked at No. 12, and remained in the chart for 13 weeks

FEBRUARY 28
1948 "Tomorrow Night" by blues guitar legend Lonnie Johnson entered the R&B chart in 1948; the tune later topped the chart for 7 weeks and became Johnson's theme song
1949 Louis Armstrong was presented with a key to the city by New Orleans mayor DeLesseps S. Morrison on Lundi Gras in 1949. Armstrong was in New Orleans to reign as King of Zulu on Mardi Gras day.
1952 Reeds player and educator Joe Torregano was born in New Orleans in 1952
1955 Vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Randy Jackson (of Zebra fame) was born in New Orleans.
1962 Noted New Orleans session guitarist Walter "Papoose" Nelson died of a drug overdose in New York City in 1962; Nelson, age 29, was in New York with Fats Domino for a slated appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show; Nelson recorded with Professor Longhair and Fats Domino (among many others), and he was a mentor to a young Mac Rebennack (Dr. John); his brother was Lawrence "Prince La La" Nelson.
1984 The 1983 Grammy Awards were held on this day in 1984; Wynton Marsalis, then 22, became the first person to ever win awards in both the jazz and classical categories (watch Wynton's performance and acceptance speech); other winners included Clifton Chenier, for the album "I'm Here".
1988 R&B sax player Walter Kimball passed away in New Orleans in 1988 at age 49; Kimball played on many New Orleans classics (Professor Longhair's "Big Chief", Smokey Johnson's "It Ain't My Fault"), and was also a regular in Fats Domino's band
1990 Trumpeter and bandleader Russell Jacquet passed away in Los Angeles in 1990 at age 72; Russell, a native of Saint Martinville, LA, often toured and recorded with his brother, late tenor sax legend Illinois Jacquet
1996 The 1995 Grammy awards were held on this day in 1996; bluesman Buddy Guy brought home the award for Best Contemporary Blues Album for "Slippin' In"
2010 Noted guitarist (and author) Kenny Gill (Walter Kenneth Guillot) passed away in Gonzales, LA in 2010 at age 74. The Bunkie, Louisiana native performed with a variety of country, pop and jazz artists, including Glen Campbell, Al Hirt and Governor Jimmy Davis. He also led his own group for many years. (more)

FEBRUARY 29
1952 Honky tonk legend Webb Pierce recorded his No. 1 single "That Heart Belongs To Me" for the Decca label (Decca 9-28091) in 1952.
1960 Cajun accordionist & bandleader Johnny Sonnier was born in Opelousas, Louisiana in 1960.
1964 Late trumpeter Al Hirt's first and biggest pop hit "Java" peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart on this day in 1964; the tune, Hirt's first million selling single, was from "Honey in the Horn", his first million selling LP; Hirt won a Grammy for "Java" at the 1963 Grammy Awards, held in Los Angeles on 5/12/64 ("Java" was written by Allen Toussaint, and it appeared on his 1958 solo debut "The Wild Sound of New Orleans")
1964 "Hello, Dolly!" by jazz great Louis Armstrong, entered the Billboard Top 40 in 1964; Louis was unaware of the Broadway play when he recorded the song, but it turned out to be the biggest hit of his career; it popularized both Louis and the play itself; five years later, Louis was cast in the film "Hello, Dolly!" in which he sang his tune to leading lady, Barbra Streisand; on May 9, 1964, the song reached No. 1 on the Billboard Pop Chart, dislodging The Beatles who had held the top spot for the previous 14 weeks; in doing so, Satchmo became the oldest person (at age 63) to ever have a number one song
1984 Wynton Marsalis was the musical guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1984 (performing "Smiles").


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