Monk Hazel

Biography by

A fine drummer who also occasionally took solos on brass instruments, Monk Hazel was a fixture in New Orleans for decades. Hazel's father was a drummer and early on, Hazel played drums with the legendary…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

A fine drummer who also occasionally took solos on brass instruments, Monk Hazel was a fixture in New Orleans for decades. Hazel's father was a drummer and early on, Hazel played drums with the legendary Emmett Hardy, who gave him his first cornet. In the 1920s, Hazel worked with many bands including those led by Abbie Brunies (the Halfway House Orchestra), Tony Parenti (with whom he recorded in 1925), and Johnny Wiggs. He led his own Bienville Roof Orchestra in 1928 and then spent time in New York playing with Johnny Wiggs, Jack Pettis, and with his own group (1929-1931). Hazel was in Hollywood for a period (working with Gene Austin) but eventually came back to New Orleans, performing with Joe Caprano (1937) and the Lloyd Danton Quintet. He spent 1942-1943 in the Army and then worked for a time outside of music. During his final 20 years, however, Hazel was once again quite active in New Orleans, performing with Sharkey Bonano, George Girard, Mike Lala, Santa Pecora, and virtually every other important name in New Orleans jazz. As a leader, Monk Hazel recorded four titles in 1928 and a full album for Storyville in 1954; Pete Fountain and Al Hirt were among his sidemen on the latter recording.