Alfred Laine

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Alfred Laine, who played both cornet and the alto horn, was the son of famous New Orleans brass band leader Papa Jack Laine. The son also had a nickname -- he was known as "Pantsy" -- but was simply never…
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Alfred Laine, who played both cornet and the alto horn, was the son of famous New Orleans brass band leader Papa Jack Laine. The son also had a nickname -- he was known as "Pantsy" -- but was simply never as famous as his father. "Papa" was considered the capo or czar of white brass bands in a city segregated so thoroughly that such a distinction was important. The first of these pale outfits was formed in 1890; within two years Papa Jack Laine had settled on the name of the Reliance Brass Band for his group, which would keep on truckin' until well into 1917. That was, coincidentally, the year that the very first record considered to be jazz was cut by what was called the Original Dixieland Jass Band. Alfred Laine didn't get in on that historic event, but has been awarded a yellow ribbon for coming in close. In 1919 he guested with the Louisiana Five, an ensemble whose recording activities should also appear on the first page of any complete history of jazz.

Young Laine also played with his father, of course. While his later activities with the Louisiana Five and a New York City stint with Alcide Nunez involved the cornet, the instrumentation of the Reliance Brass Band had evolved directly from military musical marching units, involving some instruments that wound up barely being played at all as jazz developed. Alfred Laine was one of several alto horn players in the band from about 1912 onward; the group also featured bass and baritone horns as well as the rare bass tuba. While some critics think that Laine vastly improved the sound of the Louisiana Five with his cornet guesting on the tune "Slow and Easy," others have insisted it isn't even Laine, crediting Doc Behrendson for the spot. "Papa" outlived his son "Pantsy" by nearly a decade.