Paul Barnes may a perfect example of the horn player with an oral fixation, described by old-timers with vivid memories as a child who always had a toy fife in his mouth. At 18 he was playing gigs on alto sax, beginning with the band of Kid Rena and then starting up his own sparkling Diamond Brass Band. As the '20s started up, Barnes joined the well-dressed Young Tuxedo Orchestra but continued to gig with many other bands including Rena, the Maple Leaf Orchestra, and Bebe Ridgley-Celestin's Original Tuxedo Band. In the mid-'20s he was a regular collaborator with New Orleans jazz legend Papa Celestin, but left the city in the spring of 1927 in order to join up with King Oliver somewhat farther upstream in St. Louis. After several months with Oliver, well-documented on recording, the reed player tried his luck on the New York scene.
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