Harold Cooper

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Not to be confused with the somewhat earlier trumpeter of the same name, this Harold Cooper is a clarinetist whose most famous affiliations were with the Dukes of Dixieland and the early career of popular…
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Not to be confused with the somewhat earlier trumpeter of the same name, this Harold Cooper is a clarinetist whose most famous affiliations were with the Dukes of Dixieland and the early career of popular trumpeter Al Hirt. Having studied a great deal of brass music since his youthful employment summoning race horses back to the stable with his trumpet, Hirt returned to New Orleans in the early 50's and put together his own group which included Cooper as well as trombonist Bob Havens, pianist Ronnie Dupont, bassist Bob Coqui and drummer Paul Edwards. This combo became the house group for the ~Pier 600 Club; audiences would often line up around the block to get in.

The clarinetist also recorded prolifically during the second half of the '50S with the Dukes of Dixieland, a group that had the fortune to catch a ride on trends both musical and technological, an odd concept for a repertoire that goes back to the earliest days of jazz. Not only were Cooper and his associates popular with '50s hi-fi nuts who wanted to scare their neighbors into thinking an actual Dixieland band was in action live in the neighborhood, the group transcended even this crowd's expectations by putting out the first stereo album. The Phenomenal Dukes of Dixieland album is typical of Cooper's work with the group--he demonstrates a playing style that is energetic and lively, if nowhere near

phenomenal.