Our Jazz All-Stars The Class of ’07

Lordy, if it wasn’t for the music we’d be such a poorer city.  With it we are rich in ways that few cities are.

Each April we present a class of Jazz All-Stars, two hypothetical bands, one contemporary, the other traditional. To be eligible, not only do the performers have to excel at what they do, but they have to be living and performing primarily in New Orleans. This is about the best of local talent. Fortunately the field is fertile.
Behold our wealth.


Our Jazz All-Stars The Class of '07Roger Lewis  Despite the fact that he’s known for blowin’ the big baritone horn with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Roger Lewis declares, “I’m really a tenor player at heart.” He took piano lessons at age eight but became interested in saxophone because his cousin, Alvin Daily, played alto. His father bought him a sax when he was 10 years old and a few years later Lewis was gigging in the Lower 9th Ward with a group called The Wailers. In both junior and senior high he played tenor with the schools’ marching and concert bands. After a stint with Deacon John, the saxophonist made his first road trip in 1962, hitting the “chitlin circuit” with pianist Eddie Bo. Good thing the road agreed with him, because for 25 years he’s been touring with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and that last year boasted a whopping estimated 300 gigs. After playing both tenor and baritone in Irma Thomas’ band during the late 1960s, Lewis joined Fats Domino’s ensemble in 1971. “Going with Fats was like going to an [educational] institution,” says Lewis. “Actually, New Orleans is an institution in itself.” Early on, he also attended the Grunewald School of Music, took numerous private lessons and attended Southern University where he hooked up with trombonist Charles Joseph (All-Star 2004) who was a factor in his joining the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Lewis makes his presence known when he arrives back home. In the 1980s he’d get together to blow with the likes of saxophonist Fred Kemp (All-Star 1996) hitting the jams and making gigs. These days he jumps in with the Treme Brass Band for second-line parades and jazz funerals, playing baritone or soprano sax. Jazz is in the house when Lewis is onboard, even when the rhythm and blues of Fats Domino is on the menu.
Quotable: “I always like to think I play for the mind, body and soul.”

Roger Lewis
Instrument: Saxophone Birthplace: New Orleans Age: 66 Present Work: Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Fats Domino, Treme Brass Band, Royal Brass Band Past Work: Deacon & the Ivories, Irma Thomas, Eddie Bo (All-Star 2000), New Orleans Saxophone Quartet, Ramsey McLean & the Lifers, Willie Metcalf (All-Star 1996), Dave Bartholomew (All-Star 1999), Stephen Foster Big Band Recordings: Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Dave Matthews Band, The Black Crowes, Widespread Panic, Eddie Bo, Buckwheat Zydeco, Dr. John, the Neville Brothers, Elvis Costello, Charlie Musselwhite, John Lee Hooker, BeauSoleil Where to See: Jazz Fest, Tipitina’s, House of Blues, Snug Harbor, on the streets.

Our Jazz All-Stars The Class of '07Betty Shirley  When it comes to Betty Shirley it’s all about jazz. She’s a creative improviser both in her music and in her life. Shirley grew up in Chicago, another musical town, and dug into horn players like Coleman Hawkins. “The voice is an instrument,” says Shirley who “ran off” to New York to attend Staten Island Community College and get into the city’s jazz scene. She also took private lessons studying both classical music and jazz. She gigged in New York with the likes of Benny Green and Mike Clark and earned a degree in art. “The streets of New York were my family,” says Shirley, an artesian who focuses on sand art and jewelry. She taught summer art classes at the School of Harlem. While hosting a jam session in the Big Apple she met some New Orleans musicians who encouraged her to come here, so she came and got a date at Snug Harbor hosted by photographer and jazz enthusiast Pat Jolly. Strangely, perhaps, the folks she met in New York had moved out of town. “I was on my own – I am a child of the universe.” She did hook up with folks like David Torkanowsky, who lived across the street from her, as well as pianist Joel Simpson. She and pianist Larry Sieberth began working together, regularly including trips to Baton Rouge. She was a regular at the Palace Café with Peter Martin (All-Star 1994) at the piano and headed to Europe with Sieberth and Bill Huntington. It was Ellis Marsalis who encouraged her to start teaching again, saying, “The schools could really use you.” She took his consul and taught art at various schools in the New Orleans public system as well as at St. Mark’s Charter School. Now she displays her soulful prowess at the Royal Sonesta three nights a week.
Quotable: “To be able to sing illuminates the entire world and it has given me a chance to express my sincere devotion to this music.”
Betty Shirley
Instrument: Voice Birthplace: Jackson, Miss. Age: Ain’t tellin’ Present Work: Leader, Chuck Chaplin, Kirk Branch Past Work: Larry Sieberth (All-Star 1998), Richard Moten (All-Star 2004), Wayne Merue, Betty Lisc, Marcia Frazier, Bross Townsend, Bill Huntington (All-Star 1990), Steve Masakowski (All-Star 1990), Ellis Marsalis (All-Star 1990), David Torkanowsky (All-Star 1991), James Singleton (All-Star 1991), Michael Pellera (All-Star 1993), Johnny Vidacovich (All-Star 1990) Recordings: As leader Where To See: Royal Sonesta Hotel, Harrah’s, Snug Harbor.

Our Jazz All-Stars The Class of '07Richard Knox  Though not a native New Orleanian, Richard Knox has a musical biography that mirrors players from the city. He began studying piano at the age of 12 and arrived here in 1965 to attend Southern University of New Orleans and to study classical piano with Roger Dickerson (All-Star 2005.) Soon the keyboardist hooked up with the popular funk group of the 1970s, Chocolate Milk, and added his touch to the jump blues and rock ‘n’ roll of Deacon John & the Ivories. His next stop was the French Quarter, where he entrenched himself in classic New Orleans jazz at spots like the Famous Door and Maison Bourbon performing with legends such as Thomas Jefferson and Lloyd Lambert (All-Star 1995.) It was back to rhythm and blues in the 1990s with Knox teaming with saxophonist Brian “Breeze” Cayolle and drummer Joe Gunn. Knox’s profile was kicked up a notch when he joined the Dirty Dozen Brass Band in 1994. He got the gig through the influence of his good friend, saxophonist Roger Lewis (All-Star 2007.) Playing and recording with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, renowned for its prolific touring schedule, meant hitting the road for six years. Now a member of Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers, Knox continues to enjoy a high profile but now it’s primarily in front of hometown audiences. Throughout his career, Knox has also performed as a solo pianist, laying down the standards.
Quotable: “It’s just a wonderful experience when the magic happens – when everybody on the bandstand is ignited as one.”

Richard Knox
Instrument: Piano Birthplace: Champagne, Ill. Age: 65 Present Work: Leader, Kermit Ruffins (All-Star 1998) & the Barbecue Swingers, Bob French (All-Star 1998) Past Work: Dirty Dozen Brass Band, James Rivers (All-Star 1997), Deacon John, Porgy Jones (All-Star 2004) Recordings: As leader, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Kermit Ruffins, Doreen Ketchens (All-Star 2006) Where To See: Vaughn’s, Bullet’s, Ray’s Boom Boom Room, Harrah’s, Jazz Fest, French Quarter Fest, Tipitina’s, House of Blues.

Our Jazz All-Stars The Class of '07Michael Skinkus  Michael Skinkus moved to New Orleans in 1987 to attend Tulane University and to engross himself in this city’s music. Similarly, he has traveled to Cuba numerous times as well as visiting Haiti, Brazil and Puerto Rico, all on what he calls “study trips.” His goal is to experience and incorporate authentic music. This hands-on approach plus his academic work – earning a degree in Latin American Studies and a Masters in ethnomusicology – has made him a diversified and much-called upon artist. “I’ve been an apprentice to great New Orleans music,” says Skinkus, who started on guitar and moved on to drums, playing mostly snare in school concert and marching bands. There wasn’t much of a music scene in Philly, so he spent most of his time just listening to music. When he arrived here, however, he threw himself into the music and took up congas. Maybe some will remember the teenaged Skinkus playing rock ‘n’ roll and funk with the likes of Smilin’ Myron. He has since added an arsenal of drums to his bag, including the timbales that he plays with Freddy Omar. Recently he devised his own trap set of sorts that includes congas plus a tajon, a box-like drum that he sits on. “A contraption, that’s what it is. It’s a universal trap set.” Leading his own groups, Skinkus delves into traditional music – some dating back to 500 A.D. Utilizing his own arrangements and integrating various percussive voices, Skinkus’ aim is to create his own voice. He passes along the knowledge he’s acquired through his studies and trips, leading seminars and workshops at area universities. He’s also an adjunct professor at Delgado University.
Quotable: “I always consider New Orleans as the northernmost part of the Caribbean, so I try to re-apply what I studied throughout the Americas in what I do here in New Orleans.”

Michael Skinkus
Instrument: Percussion Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pa. Age: 38 Present Work: Leader Taino Quartet and Moyuba, Freddie Omar, Ricardo Crespo, Danza Quartet Past Work: Michael Ray (All-Star 1994) & the Cosmic Krewe, Charles Neville, Radiators, Irma Thomas, Los Vecinos, Steve Masakowski (All-Star 1990), Tony Dagradi (All-Star 1991) Recordings: Dr. John, Johnny Adams, Cubanismo, Radiators, Anders Osborne, Michael Ray, David Torkanowsky (All-Star 1991), Judith Owens Where To See: Café Brasil, Ray’s Boom Boom Room, Tipitina’s, Snug Harbor, Jazz Fest.

Our Jazz All-Stars The Class of '07Edward Anderson  First off, Edward Anderson claims to be a native New Orleanian. Though he was born in Chicago, his family is from here and he grew up in the city. It was an accident that he ended up playing trumpet. As a student at Holy Cross Middle School, he signed up for saxophone. The Werlein’s van delivered a trumpet instead and he just went with it. While at Brother Martin High School he took private lessons from Joe Lewis and his first gigs were playing traditional music with clarinetist Michael White’s Liberty Jazz Band, trumpeter Wendell Brunious and the Treme Brass Band. Anderson majored in pharmacy at Xavier University and hooked up with drummer Herman LeBeaux (All-Star 2002.) His direction took a sharp change in 1990 when the International Association of Jazz Educators convention hit town. What he heard and saw influenced him to switch schools and his major. He headed to the University of New Orleans to study with luminaries Ellis Marsalis (All-Star 1990) and Harold Battiste. He went on to the Manhattan School of Music where there was lots of opportunity to play with his many talented peers. On his return in 1996, he became involved with Battiste’s AFO label, working with artists such as Delfeayo Marsalis (All-Star 1994,) and Victor Atkins (All-Star 2001.) He also taught as an adjunct professor at Delgado and Xavier universities as well in the public school system. Another significant event for Anderson was meeting Darrell Lavigne (All-Star 2002). “We just clicked,” says Anderson of Lavigne, who helped establish and create the inventive music of Bleu Orleans. Anderson, who also composes for the group, produced its 2001 debut CD on its own Fertile Crescent Records label along with albums by Leah Chase and Michael White. While in Los Angeles following Hurricane Katrina Anderson kept the music of Bleu Orleans in front of appreciative audiences. Presently he’s the Director of the Institute of Jazz Culture at Dillard University, which presents educational and musical programs, panel discussions and other functions that promote jazz. He has also taken over the directorship of the Heritage School of Music.
Quotable: “Professionally and personally you realize how fortunate you are when you go to bed thinking ‘I can’t wait to get started on tomorrow’s musical journey.’”

Edward Anderson
Instrument: Trumpet Birthplace: Chicago, Ill. Age: 41 Present Work: Co-leader of Bleu Orleans Past Work:Michael White (All-Star 1990), Kermit Ruffins (All-Star 1998), HaroldBattiste (All-Star 1994), Treme Brass Band, Patrice Rushen, Brent Rose,Victor Goines, Wendell Brunious (All-Star 1981) Recordings: BleuOrleans, Leah Chase, Ricky Sebastian (All-Star 1999) Where To See: Snug Harbor, Sweet Lorraine’s, Dillard University.

Our Jazz All-Stars The Class of '07John Rankin  John Rankin admits he can’t be stylistically pigeonholed. “What I do is confusing to people and I’m sorry,” he offers with a chuckle. His loosely defines himself as “a New Orleans-style improviser” and says he plays “piano-style guitar.” Rankin cites his influences including first and foremost Jelly Roll Morton along with Django Reinhardt, Sidney Bechet, Miles Davis and a host of friends. He arrived in New Orleans in 1957 when his father, who sang with big bands, was hired by Tulane University and his mother started working at the school’s jazz archives. While attending Lusher Elementary, he fooled around with trumpet and landed on guitar. At 16 years old, Rankin started a lifetime of gigging, playing with a quartet at Cosimo’s bar and heading to Bourbon Street to perform at the Bayou Room. At Fortier High School, he was in a band called (believe it or not) Yats & Frats. He earned a degree in music from the University of Southwest Louisiana and then headed east to attend the Berklee School of Music. A visit back to New Orleans for the 1976 Jazz Fest sealed Rankin’s return to the city in 1978. While working on his Masters degree, the guitarist pursued his solo career, taking the stage at spots like the Maple Leaf – where he held down Sundays for five years – Tipitina’s, Jed’s, Tyler’s and the Dream Castle (later to become the Dream Palace.) From 1982 until 1985, he took to the road for some regional touring. Through the years, Rankin taught at most of the local universities – Loyola, Delgado and Xavier – and was at Tulane from 1980 until Hurricane Katrina. He presently teaches classical guitar at the University of New Orleans, where he’s shared his knowledge since 1991. Primarily a solo musician, when he teams with others on recordings and gigs he usually calls in musicians from the jazz world. He says they offer him the “understated sophistication” he’s looking for and the ability to improvise, read and be flexible.
Quotable: Rankin offers this from David Lee Roth: “The most important thing is sincerity and if you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

John Rankin
Instrument: Guitar and vocals Birthplace: Reidsville, N.C. Age: 59 Present Work: John Rankin’s Rites of Swing, solo guitar/singer, Rachel Van Voorhees, Patti Adams, Danny O’Flaherty Past Work: Allen Toussaint, Evan Christopher (All-Star 2002), Chip Wilson, Beth Patterson Recordings: As leader, Rachel Van Voorhees, Allen Toussaint, Danny O’Flaherty, Kitty West, Charlie Brent Where To See: Columns Hotel, Spotted Cat, Polo Lounge, French Quarter Fest, Jazz Fest.

Our Jazz All-Stars The Class of '07Louis Ford  It’s not surprising that Louis Ford’s inspiration to play music came from his father, the late, great clarinetist and saxophonist Clarence Ford. This clarinetist comes from a hugely influential musical family that includes his uncles Manny and Percy Gabriel and cousins Charlie Gabriel and Frank Oxley (All-Star 2001.) Even as a youth he stood alongside his father playing in the William Houston Orchestra and met and became friends with numerous stellar musicians such as Manuel Crusto (All-Star 1999.) Ford also picked up the alto saxophone in junior high, attended St. Augustine High School and then switched to John F. Kennedy so he could take advantage of the music education available at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA.) He went on to study with Kidd Jordan (All-Star 1993) at Southern University of New Orleans and received a degree in music education at Loyola. Throughout, the clarinetist focused on classical music but soon realized that there wasn’t much opportunity there. In the 1980s, he played with rhythm and Blues groups and also hit the streets blowing in brass bands at social aid and pleasure club parades, where he’d often be at his father’s or trumpeter Wallace Davenport’s side. Among his teaching positions, Ford boasts working as the assistant musical director at McDonough 15 under the direction of Walter Payton (All-Star 1993.) His association with Payton continues with Ford presently assisting Payton who is teaching in Tallulah, a 465-mile commute from Ford’s home in LaPlace. While his last two albums as leader focus on classic jazz, Ford also picks up his alto to dig into bebop and for three years traveled with Harry Connick Jr.’s Big Band.
Quotable: “Coming from my father, my goal is to preserve traditional New Orleans music for future generations so it won’t be lost and to continue the legacy of my father and my ancestors.”


Louis Ford
Instrument: Clarinet and saxophone Birthplace: New Orleans Age: 44 Present Work: Louis Ford & His New Orleans Traditional Flairs, Phil Campo, Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra, Preservation Hall Band, Bob French (All-Star 1998), George French (All-Star 1995), Don Vappie (All-Star 1995), Gerald Adams (All-Star 1994), Dalton Rosseau, Topsy Chapman (All-Star 2006), Walter Payton (All-Star 1993) Past Work: Clarence Ford (father, All-Star 1993), Brook Benton, Onward Brass Band, Liberty Brass Band, Tuxedo Brass Band, Doc Paulin’s Brass Band, Big Joe Williams, Danny Barker (All-Star 1990), Harry Connick Jr., Wallace Davenport (All-Star 1993), Teddy Riley (All-Star 1990), Willie Humphrey (All-Star 1992), Louis Cottrell Recordings: As leader, Harry Connick Jr., Donald Harrison (All-Star 1999), Dr. John, Wardell Quezergue (All-Star 2002), Wallace Davenport, Smithsonian Jazz Master Workers Orchestra, Tom Hook, Cynthia Owens, Brook Benton Where To See: Maison Bourbon, Preservation Hall, French Quarter Festival, Jazz Fest, Satchmo Fest.

Our Jazz All-Stars The Class of '07Jamil Sharif  Walk down Bourbon Street most nights and you can catch Jamil Sharif blowing traditional jazz at the Maison Bourbon where he’s held down the five-nights-a-week job for nine years. He got the job after the owner heard him sub for George Finola one night just at the time trumpeter Wallace Davenport (All-Star 1993) was ready to give up his regular spot. At the time, Sharif was perhaps better known on the modern jazz scene, particularly as a member of the young, hotshot-filled New Orleans Jazz Couriers. He realized, however, that there were more gigs to be had playing traditional music. He still keeps his foot in the contemporary scene, working in the trumpet section with John Mahoney’s Big Band and making an occasional gig with saxophonist Tony Dagradi. As the son of trumpet great Umar Sharif, also known as Big Emory Thompson, the trumpeter naturally grew up surrounded by music. He began taking music seriously at age 14 – “I started late; my father began at three” – and attended a vocational high school in Chicago that he describes as a large version of NOCCA. The family moved back to New Orleans in 1979 and he attended Fortier High School and NOCCA. During his senior year, the trumpeter made his first appearance at the Blue Room, where his father was a member of the orchestra. He got experience in traditional jazz playing with Danny Baker (All-Star 1990) and still remembers his advice: “Follow the leader and don’t play too much.” Sharif also attended Southern University at both the Baton Rouge and New Orleans locations. He spent three years in Dr. John’s Band and played in his much-acclaimed album, Goin’ Back to New Orleans. Throughout, Sharif taught privately and claims trumpeter Irvin Mayfield (All-Star 1999) as one of his students. He also acted as music coordinator for the move Ray.
Quotable: “Strive for excellence.”

Jamil Sharif
Instrument: Trumpet Birthplace: New Orleans Age: 43 Present Work: Leader, John Mahoney (All-Star 2002) Big Band, Tony Dagradi (All-Star 1991) Past Work: Umar Sharif (father, All-Star 1996), Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, Wynton Marsalis, June Gardner (All-Star 1995), Ernie Ellie (All-Star 1999) Recordings: As leader, Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Dr. John, B.B. King, Don Vappie (All-Star 1995), Maria Muldaur Where To See: Maison Bourbon.

Our Jazz All-Stars The Class of '07Cayetano “Tanio” Hingle Growing up in the 6th Ward in the Esplanade house once occupied by Sidney Bechet, Tanio Hingle was naturally surrounded by the beats of the street. Hingle gives much credit for becoming a musician to his involvement with the Tambourine & Fan Social & Pleasure Club, a youth cultural and recreation program headed by Jerome Smith. As a child, he and fellow New Birth Brass Band member and another 2007 All-Star, Kerry “Fat Man” Hunter, second-lined with the group at its annual Super Sunday parade. A band grew out of that experience that was assisted first by Danny Barker (All-Star 1990) and then trumpeter Milton Batiste. Hingle also played both snare and bass drum at Marie C. Couvent Elementary School and dug in further at Joseph S. Clark High School. However, Hingle was more into sports than playing in the school band. Instead, he headed out to Jackson Square where many a brass band honed its chops. “That’s where it all started,” declares Hingle of his days learning the ropes in front of audiences on the Square. He cites listening to drummer Benny Jones (All-Star 2004) for beefing up his knowledge of the repertoire and the rhythms. “Teaching comes when you’re on the streets,” says Hingle. A turning point came in Hingle’s life when he had to decide whether to go to Europe with Tuba Fats (All-Star 1999) & the Chosen Few Brass Band or go to Philadelphia to try out for the Philly’s baseball team. He chose the music. The Junior Olympia Brass Band spun out of the mighty Olympia with Batiste overseeing the young band to make sure that the traditions were held dear. In 1988, the New Birth Brass Band, which plays both in the classic style and hot brass band style, was formed. Having contributed many original numbers to the band’s song list, with Hingle at the helm, the New Birth Brass Band has traveled around the world and has benefited from Hingle’s knowledge and dedication to of the music’s roots.
Quotable: “Always bring a joyful sound.”

Cayetano “Tanio” Hingle
Instrument: Bass drum Birthplace: New Orleans Age: 38 Present Work: Leader of the New Birth Brass Band, New Orleans Nightcrawlers, Olympia Brass Band, Euphonious Bass Band Past Work: Chosen Few Brass Band, Treme Brass Band, New Orleans Spice Jazz Band, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Leroy Jones (All-Star 1991), Junior Olympia Brass Band Recordings: New Birth Brass Band, Junior Olympia Brass Band, Nightcrawlers, Craig Klein (All-Star 2001), Leroy Jones, Potholes Brass Band, Lil’ Rascals Brass Band, Papa Grows Funk, Russell Batiste Where To See: Jazz Fest, French Quarter Fest, Satchmo Fest, Preservation Hall, second-line parades.

Our Jazz All-Stars The Class of '07Kerry “Fat Man” Hunter Apparently Kerry Hunter was a chubby baby, so his auntie called him “Fat Man.” The name stuck. Like his partner in the rhythm section, Tanio Hingle (above,) Hunter started out with the Tambourine & Fan Social & Pleasure Club and calls its founder, Jerome Smith, a “father figure.” When Hunter was 12 years old, Danny Barker stepped in to help out the band and the drummer still remembers playing on the stage at Hunter’s Field, where the club’s daylong Super Sunday parade ended. The noted snare drummer made his first tour with the Junior Olympia Brass Band under the auspices of Milton Batiste, who taught him and many other young musicians the importance of tradition. As a youngster, Hunter remembers peeking into Preservation Hall to check out the music and having Batiste invite him in to play. He enjoyed those days when the Junior Olympia and James Andrews’ All-Star brass bands would battle on Jackson Square. These early experiences listening to and learning from the veteran musicians are realized in the way both he and Hingle approach the music, even when they step outside of the tradition. They know the tradition; they know the repertoire. They know what came before. As a member of the New Birth Brass Band, Hunter has spread the rhythms around the world. “They’re beautiful,” he exclaims of the many European cities that remind him of the French Quarter. Teamed in the rhythm section with Hingle both in the New Birth and the Nightcrawlers, Hunter explains their sound saying, “You’d think it was one drum. He goes boom, boom, boom and I go tat, tat, tat.” Hunter’s goal for this year, he says, is mastering the trap set.
Quotable: “The groove of the drums have the old, young and elderly dancing to the New Birth.”
Kerry “Fat Man” Hunter
Instrument: Snare drum Birthplace: New Orleans Age: 37 Present Work: New Birth Brass Band, New Orleans Nightcrawlers, Olympia Brass Band, Potholes Brass Band, Ambassadors of New Orleans, Euphonious Brass Band Past Work: Danny Baker (All-Star 1990), Tambourine & Fan Brass Band, Roots of Jazz Brass Band, Original Junior Olympia Brass Band Recordings: New Birth Brass Band, Leroy Jones (All-Star 1991), Nightcrawlers Where To See: Tipitina’s, Snug Harbor, d.b.a, Café Brasil, Preservation Hall, French Quarter Fest, Jazz Fest, Satchmo Fest, second line parades.

Our Jazz All-Stars The Class of '07Woody Penouilh  Woody Penouilh got a pretty late start on the sousaphone. He was always interested in brass band music, having grown up in the musically rich area of Esplanade and North Johnson. There was a piano at his house that he fooled around with and he also took up bass and drums as a teenager but nothing stuck. Then one day in the late 1970s, he found a sousaphone that was destined to become a planter and he grabbed it. When Anthony “Tuba Fats” Lacen (All-Star 1999) saw it he told Penouilh, “If you learn to play that you’ll get work.” Lacen, along with many other musicians – especially those from the Olympia Brass Band and including trumpeter Milton Batiste – took up the role of teachers in helping Penouilh learn the big horn. “I like bass,” says Penouilh of his embracing the instrument, “that’s what you listen to when you’re dancing.” Just as Tuba Fats predicted, mastering the sousaphone turned into gigs for Penouilh. He started out with the rather loosely assembled Pair-a-dice Tumblers that would head out from the Dream Palace for various festive occasions. The Storyville Stompers essentially spun out of that group in 1981, and soon Penouilh took over leadership. The Stompers became and still are regulars at Molly’s, and the band is renowned for leading its lively Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day parades that take off from the Decatur Street bar. (The Stompers also ride the streetcar with the Phunny Phorty Phellows each Twelfth Night to announce the arrival of the Carnival season.) With Penouilh at the helm, the Stompers have gone from a local favorite to a world-traveled band. Recent dates have included opening eight Ruth’s Chris Steak Houses throughout the country. Though the restaurant’s headquarters are no longer based in New Orleans, Penouilh is glad that the chain is using New Orleans music to keep the connection. Penouilh recently retired from 20 years in the New Orleans Public School System where he taught math and science. He also put together a little band at the New Orleans Free School that performed at Jazz Fest and looks forward to helping teach kids music again.
Quotable: “I’m blessed to have the opportunity to learn, perform and teach the music of New Orleans, which is respected worldwide.”

Woody Penouilh
Instrument: Sousaphone Birthplace: New Orleans Age: 63 Present Work: Leader of the Storyville Stompers, Treme Brass Band Past Work: Pair-a-dice Tumblers, Young Tuxedo Brass Band, Olympia Brass Band, Algiers Brass Band, Paragon Brass Band Recordings: Storyville Stompers Where To See: Molly’s, Vaughn’s, French Quarter Festival, Jazz Fest, Satchmo Fest, street parades.

Our Jazz All-Stars The Class of '07Banu Gibson  Banu Gibson took a rather circuitous route to arrive in New Orleans in 1973. She began studying dance at age three and made her debut in a Vegas-style revue in Miami, studying music and song throughout her school years in Hollywood, Fla. She got her first dose of traditional jazz singing and dancing while working at Jackie Gleason’s Joe the Bartender Club at Miami’s Hilton Hotel where trumpeter Phil Napoleon was blowing. Early jazz caught her ear and became her mission in leading a group that plays what she describes as hot, small band swing of the 1930s and ‘40s. Her Miami gigs led to a national tour when she was based in New York and in 1969 she moved to California to sing and dance in a vaudeville-type show in Disneyland. In 1973, her friend Buzzy Pizzarelli, who she’d met in New York, moved to New Orleans to join the Tulane theater department and that inspired Gibson to head south, too. By this time the lively entertainer had taken up the ukulele but when Pizzarelli suggested she take over his gig at Houlihan’s, she quickly began studying banjo. She put together her first band in 1981 to play at Eddie Bayard’s Jazz Alley and has successfully led her own groups ever since. Highlights include her band performing with the Boston Pops Orchestra, sitting in with jazz legends Pete Fountain and Al Hirt and playing at national and international jazz festivals. She received an Associate of the Arts degree in theater and music from Broward Community College and soon after she arrived in New Orleans, she attended Tulane University. She says her claim to fame is that she’s never had a day job. Her mother named her Banu, an ancient Persian name that means “divine spirit” or “lady,” simply because she thought it was pretty.
Quotable: As she is quoted in the book Charles Kuralt’s America: “I’ll say this for music. It doesn’t hurt people. You go through your whole life in a business singing and dancing and do no residual harm.” 

Banu Gibson
Instrument: Vocals, 4-string tenor guitar, banjo Birthplace: Dayton, Ohio Age: Ain’t tellin’ Present Work: Leader of Banu Gibson & the New Orleans Hot Jazz Past Work: Phil Napoleon, Bucky Pizzarelli, Connie Jones, David Boeddinghaus (All-Star 2005), Dick Hyman Recordings: As leader (15) Where To See: Harrah’s 528, The Polo Court at the Windsor Court, French Quarter Fest, Jazz Fest.


Bill Huntington, bass
John Vidacovich, drums
Clyde Kerr Jr., trumpet
Alvin “Red” Tyler, saxophone
Steve Masakowski, guitar
Ellis Marsalis, piano

James Singleton, bass
Leroy Jones, trumpet
Freddy Lonzo, trombone
Herlin Riley, drums
David Torkanowsky, piano
Tony Dagradi, saxophone
Theron Lewis, guitar

David Lee, drums
Richard Payne, bass/tuba
Nicholas Payton, trumpet
Ed Frank, piano
Earl Turbinton, saxophone

Mike Pellera, piano
Edward “Kidd” Jordan, saxophone
Kent Jordan, flute
Walter Payton, bass
Brian Blade, drums
Germaine Bazzle, vocals


Harold Battiste, saxophone
Delfeayo Marsalis, trombone
Peter Martin, piano
Michael Ray, trumpet
Chris Severin, bass
Smokey Johnson, drums

Emile Vinette, piano
Al Belletto, saxophone
George French, bass
Shannon Powell, drums
Marlon Jordan, trumpet

Fred Kemp, saxophone
Willie Metcalf, piano
Kerry Brown, drums
Charlie Miller, trumpet
Julius Farmer, bass

James Rivers, saxophone/flute/bagpipes/harmonica
Henry Butler, piano/vocals
Jason Marsalis, drums
David Pulphus, bass
Terence Blanchard, trumpet


Ed Petersen, tenor and soprano/saxophone
Lawrence Sieberth, piano/synthesizer
Roland Guerin, bass
Adonis Rose, drums
Rick Trolsen, trombone
Richwell Ison, trumpet

Davell Crawford, piano/organ/vocals
Irvin Mayfield, trumpet
Donald Harrison Jr., saxophone
Chris Thomas, bass
Brian Seeger, guitar
Ricky Sebastian, drums

Tim Green, saxophone
Phillip Manuel, vocals
Jeremy Davenport, trumpet/vocals
Carl LeBlanc, guitar/banjo
Thaddeus Richard, bass/piano/saxophone
Bill Summers, percussion
Edwin “Eddie Bo” Bocage,piano/vocals

Victor Atkins, piano
Troy Davis, drums
Jesse Davis, alto saxophone
Alvin Batiste, clarinet
Michael Ward, violin
Edwin Livingston, bass

Darrell Lavigne, piano
Herman Jackson, drums
John Mahoney, trombone/piano
Matt Perrine, bass/sousaphone
Eric Traub, saxophone
Wardell Quezergue, band leader/arranger/composer

Wilson “Willie Tee” Turbinton, piano/vocals
Maurice Brown, trumpet
Clarence Johnson, saxophone
Jaz Sawyer, drums
Neil Caine, bass
Dave Easley, pedal steel guitar

Warren Bell Sr., saxophone
Doug Bickel, piano
Tony Oulabula Bazley, drums
Mark Mullins, trombone
Porgy Jones, trumpet
Richard Moten, bass

Wess “Warmdaddy” Anderson Sr., saxophone
Ed Wise, Bass
Ocie Davis, drums
Andrew Baham, trumpet
Roger Dickerson, piano/composer
John Boutte, vocals

Stanton Moore, drums
Steve Sutor, trombone
Frederick Sanders, piano
Rob Wagner, saxophone
Phil Frazier, sousaphone
Juanita Brooks, vocals


Michael White, clarinet
Teddy Riley, trumpet
Freddy Kohlman, drums
Louis Nelson, trombone
Danny Barker, banjo/guitar
Frank Fields, bass
Jeanette Kimball, piano

Pud Brown, clarinet/saxophone
Wendell Brunious, trumpet
Placide Adams, drums
Walden “Frog” Joseph, trombone
Kirk Joseph, tuba
Narvin Kimball, banjo
Walter Lewis, piano

Jerry Green, bass/tuba
Percy Humphrey, trumpet
John Chaffe, banjo/guitar/mandolin
Willie Humphrey, clarinet
Wendell Eugene, trombone
Steve Pistorius, piano
Harold Dejan, saxophone

Clarence Ford, clarinet/saxophone
Peter “Chuck” Badie, bass
Wallace Davenport, trumpet
Sadie Goodson, piano
Milford Dolliole, drums
Lucien Barbarin, trombone
Les Muscutt, banjo/guitar

Lionel Ferbos, trumpet
John Robichaux, drums
Charles Burbank, saxophone/clarinet
Frank Federico, banjo/guitar
Worthia G. Thomas, trombone
Jerry Adams, bass

Lloyd Lambert, bass
Don Vappie, banjo/bass/guitar
June Gardner, drums
Gregg Stafford, trumpet
Steve Pistorius, piano
Jack Maheu, clarinet
Tom Ebbert, trombone


Ralph Johnson, saxophone/clarinet
Lawrence Cotton, piano
James Prevost, bass
Lester Caliste, trombone
Gerald French, drums
Emory Thompson (Umar Sharif), trumpet
Lars Edegran, banjo/piano/guitar

Alvin Alcorn, trumpet
Tom McDermott, piano
Louis Cottrell, drums
Don Suhor, clarinet/saxophone
Eric Glaser, bass
Steve Blailock, guitar/banjo
Blue Lu Barker, vocals


Bob French, drums
Curtis Mitchell, bass/piano/vocals
Frank Naundorf, trombone
Wes Mix, banjo/guitar/trumpet/cornet/trombone/tuba/vocals
Phamous Lambert, piano/vocals
Pete Fountain, clarinet
Kermit Ruffins, trumpet/vocals

Ernie Elly, drums
Manuel Crusto, clarinet/saxophone
Olivia “Lady Charlotte” Cook, piano
Clifford Brown, guitar/banjo
Anthony “Tuba Fats” Lacen, tuba
Scotty Hill, trombone
Dave Bartholomew, trumpet/vocals


Tim Laughlin, clarinet
Warren Battiste, guitar/banjo/bass
Maynard Chatters, trombone
James LaRocca, trumpet
Bernard “Bunchy” Johnson, drums
Erving Charles Jr., bass
Rickie Mone, piano/woodwinds

Al Broussard, piano/vocals
Jacques Gauthe, clarinet
John Brunious, trumpet/fluegelhorn/piano
Frank Oxley, drums
Craig Klein, trombone/tuba
Mitchell Player, bass
Neil Unterseher, banjo/guitar

Mark Braud, trumpet/fluegelhorn/vocals
Corey Henry, trombone/vocals
Mark Brooks, bass/vocals
Evan Christopher, clarinet/saxophone
Mari Watanabe, piano
Herman LeBeaux, drums

Joe Torregano, clarinet
Jack Fine, cornet
Wanda Rouzan, vocals
Paul Longstreth, piano
Kerry Lewis, bass
Herb Taylor, drums

Benny Jones, snare drum
Tom Fisher, clarinet/saxophone
Charles Joseph, trombone
Duke Heitger, trumpet
Kevin Morris, bass
Lionel Batiste, bass drum/vocals/grand marshal

Ernest “Doc” Watson, saxophone
Thais Clark, vocals
Stanley Joseph, drums
David Boeddinghaus, piano
James Andrews, trumpet
Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, trombone/trumpet

Detroit Brooks, banjo/guitar
Gregory Davis, trumpet
Tom Saunders, tuba/bass saxophone/upright bass
Lawrence Batiste, drums
Doreen Ketchens, clarinet
Topsy Chapman, vocals

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