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Fairview Baptist Church Brass Band

Leroy Jones reassembles the Fairview Brass Band for a special concert at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 2009

Read article @ Digital Journal: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/270217 (and vote it up).

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Leroy Jones and the Fairview Baptist Church Brass Band Alumni
Tribute to Danny Barker

April 24, 2009
4:20 to 5:25 pm - Economy Hall Tent
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

Leroy Jones – trumpet
Gregg Stafford – trumpet
Gregory Davis – trumpet
Kevin Harris – tenor saxophone
Darryl Adams – alto saxophone
Joe Torregano – clarinet
Lucien Barbarin – trombone
Michael Johnson – trombone
Harry Sterling – banjo
Alton Carson – tuba
Anthony Bennett – bass drum
Jerry Anderson – snare drum


Louisiana Jazz & Heritage Fair - Congo Square 1971



New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, April 24, 2009
Left to right: Harry Sterling, Joe Torregano, Anthony Bennett, Gregg Stafford, Leroy Jones, Lucien Barbarin, Kevin Harris, Michael Johnson, Al Carson. Kneeling: Darryl Adams, Jerry Anderson.

This historic event, taking place at this year's New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, will reunite one of the most important brass bands in New Orleans' brass band history. The Fairview Baptist Church Christian Marching Band was founded in 1970, and was the brainchild of reverend Andrew Darby, pastor of the Fairview Baptist Church. Reverend Darby wanted to involve the neighborhood youth with brass band music and also provide live music for the church functions. He asked banjoist Danny Barker, who lived in the neighborhood and was a member of the church with his wife Blue Lu, to assist him in recruiting young aspiring musicians. Soon there was a large enough group of youngsters and Danny Barker appointed Leroy Jones, 12 years at the time, as the leader of the band. The rehearsals took place in Jones' parents garage on St. Dennis Street, in the 7th ward of New Orleans, just a few blocks from the Fairview Church.

The Fairview Brass Band brought new energy to the brass band scene and its importance to the continuation of tradition cannot be underestimated. At the time, traditional brass band music was in jeopardy mostly because of young musicians' lack of interest in it. The Fairview Band introduced tens of young musicians, many of whom are still active musicians today, to the traditional brass band sounds and tunes.  In it's heyday, the Fairview band had as many as 30 musicians and the group would sometimes be split up to 3 different bands, performing at different functions simultaneously. 

The band performed actively 1970-1974, playing for the 2nd New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in Congo Square (1971, at the time called Louisiana Heritage Fair), at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC, numerous Social Club parades, and church and private events.

The Fairview Brass Band later evolved into Leroy Jones' Hurricane Brass Band, and after Mr. Jones started predominantly pursuing his solo career, some of the Hurricane Brass Band's musicians went on to start the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

Now, 39 years later, the JazzFest 2009 Fairview Alumni concert, inspired by the centennial of Mr. Barker's birth, will bring together 12 musicians; among them for example Alton "Big Al" Carson, who nowadays is better known as one of Crescent City's finest singers, on tuba, Dirty Dozen's longtime trumpeter Gregory Davis, trombonist Lucien Barbarin, who played snare drum in the Fairview Band, and of course Leroy Jones, whose trumpet will once again lead the Fairview Baptist Church Marching Brass Band.



Leroy Jones, September 2005
"I was the first youngster Danny Barker approached and asked about being a member of this new band. He also appointed me as leader. This was in 1970. I can't remember exact month, but I believe it was towards the end of that year, maybe October? By 1974 Mr. Barker was getting a lot of heat from the local musicians union in New Orleans, receiving false accusations, being accused of exploiting us for his own monetary gains, since the original group only consisted of juveniles. Of course I can vouch that none of that was ever true. By this time we were able to fend for ourselves anyway. So the Hurricane Brass band was established. That was my first brass band. Danny gave us that name, because even when we were the Fairview Band, he told us we came up the streets like a hurricane, blowing the other bands away."

Geraldine Wyckoff: "Remembering legendary Danny Barker", Louisiana Weekly, January 12, 2009
"The Barkers bought a house on Sere Street and joined the nearby Fairview Baptist Church, which he described as having “a finger-poppin’ congregation.” One day in the early 1970s, the minister asked if he was interested in organizing a band. It was an idea Barker already had in mind. His first inductee was a young neighborhood trumpeter he’d often heard practicing in a garage. He introduced himself to then-13-year-old Leroy Jones, who now enjoys a successful career. The Fairview Baptist Church Band soon blossomed from 10 members to 30 musicians who split up into three separate bands in order to satisfy all the gigs they were offered. Filled with now well-known musicians like drummer (then-trumpeter) Herlin Riley, trombonist Lucien Barbarin, trumpeter Gregg Stafford, Anthony “Tuba Fats” Lacen and more, the Fairview eventually spun off groups like the Hurricane and Dirty Dozen brass bands. This one little kids band began a revolution in brass band music that revitalized a tradition that continues to be realized today."


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