BRASS BAND BIOGRAPHIES – Harold Dejan, Milton Batiste, and Anthony ‘Tuba Fats' Lacen

This is a collection of three documentary tributes, originally made for radio and broadcast by George Buck's radio station, WTIX, in New Orleans. Each program lasts one hour (broken into segments for your listening convenience) and features a major figure in the continuance and evolution of New Orleans brass band music. The programs contain audio interviews with the main subjects, and examples of music spread over a seventy year span. They were all created and produced by Mick Burns. The programs were made possible by a series of grants from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities a division of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Everything is Lovely – The Life and Times of Harold Dejan

Harold Dejan, saxophone player and bandleader
February 4th 1909 – July 5th 2002 (photo - Mac MacDonald)

Harold was active on the New Orleans brass band scene throughout the twenties and thirties. He formed his own Olympia Brass Band in 1962, and led it for thirty years, until ill health forced his retirement. For much of this time, the Olympia was the band of first call in New Orleans, and inspired a whole generation of musicians to carry on the brass band tradition.
The audio interview material contained in this documentary is taken from the oral history program carried out by the National Park Service, and is used with their permission. There are also contributions from Barry Martyn and his son Emile.
There's music by the Olympia Brass Band, King Oliver's Dixie Syncopators, the Sam Morgan band, Kid Rena, Kermit Ruffins, Kid Howard's band, the Mighty Four, and the Eureka Brass Band.

Jazzly Yours – The Life and Times of Milton Batiste

Milton Batiste, trumpet player
September 5th 1934 - March 29th 2001 (photo - Mike Peters)

After spending the first ten years of his musical career playing with various rhythm and blues bands, Milton appeared on the brass band scene in the early sixties. Harold Dejan recruited him into the Olympia in 1965, where he stayed for thirty years, eventually becoming assistant leader. His contemporary musical phrasing and charismatic persona made him the inspiration for a whole generation of younger musicians. Tuba player Edgar Smith said of him “He was the walking embodiment of a jazz musician – he was our ideal”.
The audio interview material was originally used in the book The Great Olympia Band. The music is by Milton Batiste with a studio group, Bunk Johnson's Brass Band, Professor Longhair, Little Richard, the Young Olympia, and the Olympia Brass Band.

Goodbye Tuba Fats – the life and times of Anthony Lacen

Anthony Lacen, bass horn player and bandleader
September 15th 1949 – January 11th 2004

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Anthony Lacen changed forever the way that the bass horn was played on the streets of New Orleans. Starting as a teenager with the Gibson and Doc Paulin bands, and carrying on with the Hurricane and Olympia brass bands, finally leading his own Chosen Few, his individual phrasing and swing owed much to the string bass players he heard when he was young. Under his leadership, the Chosen Few foreshadowed the musical developments of the Dirty Dozen and all the bands that came after.
The audio material was used in the book Keeping the Beat on the Street and although the sound quality of these sections is less than perfect, the content is remarkable.
Music by Tuba Fats' Chosen Few, Big Joe Turner, the Gibson Brass Band, the Young Tuxedo Brass Band, the Hurricane Brass Band, the Olympia Brass Band, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Tuba with Lady Linda Young and Peter Nissen's New Orleans Band.

All documentaries hosted at Louisiana State Museum Jazz Collection



© 2006 Abela Productions Ltd