Alcide Pavageau

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One of the better-known string bassists active in New Orleans during the 1950's and 60's, Alcide Pavageau actually began playing the instrument surprisingly late in life. He was originally a guitarist…
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One of the better-known string bassists active in New Orleans during the 1950's and 60's, Alcide Pavageau actually began playing the instrument surprisingly late in life. He was originally a guitarist and became famous as a dance in New Orleans, which is how he gained the lifelong "Slow Drag" nickname. Pavageau did not take up the bass until 1927 when he was already 39. He played with many legendary players (including Buddy Petit, Herb Morand and Emil Barnes). Pavageau began working with George Lewis in 1943 and was part of the band that appeared in New York with Bunk Johnson in 1945. When the musicians went back to New Orleans, Pavageau continued working under Lewis' leadership and he toured the world with the clarinetist throughout the 1950's. In the 60's Pavageau was a fixture at Preservation Hall. His wife (known as Sister Annie Pavageau) worked as a gospel-oriented pianist-vocalist. Slow Drag Pavageau led one record date for Jazz Crusade in 1965 and appeared on many records with George Lewis and some with Bunk Johnson. His percussive 4/4 bass lines helped make Lewis' rhythm section a consistently driving force.