Laurence Marrero

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Laurence (also spelled "Lawrence" at times) Marrero was best known for his steady playing as part of George Lewis' rhythm section in the 1950s, but he actually had a long career. His father was a pioneering…
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Laurence (also spelled "Lawrence" at times) Marrero was best known for his steady playing as part of George Lewis' rhythm section in the 1950s, but he actually had a long career. His father was a pioneering bass player who had led the Superior Orchestra back in 1910, and his brothers Eddie (bass), Simon (bass) and John (banjo) were all professional musicians. Laurence started on bass before switching to banjo. He played with his dad in the Carmelia Dance Orchestra in 1918, was with Wooden Joe Nicholas in 1919 and also freelanced in New Orleans with Chris Kelly, Kid Rena, Frankie Dusen, Lee Collins and Peter Bocage, among others. In the 1920s Marrero led the Young Tuxedo Orchestra, with whom he played bass drum, and also worked with John Robichaux's Orchestra. In and out of music during the Depression, Marrero first met Lewis in the late 1930s. He went up north with Lewis to join Bunk Johnson's band in 1942, recording with both of them and staying with Johnson on and off until 1946. After returning to New Orleans, he continued playing with Lewis (from 1947-48 he was featured briefly on electric guitar) and was with the clarinetist when his music caught on. Marrero traveled the world, recorded extensively and worked constantly with Lewis until ill health forced his retirement in 1955. He later led his own band on a part-time basis but never led his own record date.