Onward Brass Band

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There have been two Onward Brass Bands in New Orleans. The original group was one of the pioneering jazz-oriented brass bands, actually predating jazz itself by a decade. Consisting of three cornets or…
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There have been two Onward Brass Bands in New Orleans. The original group was one of the pioneering jazz-oriented brass bands, actually predating jazz itself by a decade. Consisting of three cornets or trumpets, two trombones, two clarinets, alto horn, baritone horn, tuba, snare drum and bass drum, The Onward Brass Band was very influential and popular during its heyday. Manuel Perez led the ensemble starting in 1903 (and until its demise in 1930); other historic names who were in the group included Lorenzo Tio, Jr., Peter Bocage, George Baquet and King Oliver. The first Onward Brass Band (which never recorded) broke up shortly after the beginning of the Depression.

In 1960 drummer Paul Barbarin (the son of the first Onward Brass Band's alto horn player Isidore Barbarin) formed a new Onward Brass Band. Although based on the earlier group, the new band had eight (rather than 12) pieces: two trumpets, two trombones, clarinet, tuba, snare drum and bass drum but no baritone or alto horn. Paul Barbarin led the group until his death in 1969. Clarinetist Louis Cottrell took over until he passed away in 1978. There were a few later appearances under the leadership of drummer Placide Adams but basically The Onward Brass Band did not survive Cottrell. Among the sidemen who played with the second group (which recorded an album for the Japanese Dan label in 1965 and for CTJC in 1974) were Kid Howard, Louis Barbarin, Alvin Alcorn, Louis Cotrell, and Danny Barker (on banjo).