Archives Collection

BARKER, DANNY (1909- )               90-034


Physical description:

1 analog reel to reel audio tape (TTA-1037)
2 items.


1990 [1920's-1980's]


This audio tape was made by Center audio archivist Bruce Nemerov.

Biographical sketch:

Jazz guitarist and banjo player Danny Barker was born in New Orleans LA on 13 January 1909. He learned drums, trumpet, banjo and guitar from his grandfather Isidore Barbarin and uncle Paul Barbain and played and toured with a number of jazz bands in Louisiana and Mississippi. In 1930 he moved to New York and worked with a number of bands, principally Lucky Milliner, 1937/38; Benny Carter, 1938; and Cab Calloway, 1939-1946. Thereafter he played mainly with small groups.

In 1965 he returned to New Orleans and served as assistant curator of the New Orleans Jazz Museum while continuing to work as a band leader and guitarist and adn began to write and lecture on jazz history. His autobiography, A Life in Jazz, was published in 1986.

He married jazz singer Blue Lu (1913- ) in 1930.
[--From Who's Who of Jazz, pp.20-21 and The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Volume One, p. 71.]

Scope and Content:

This group consists primarily of a reel to reel audio tape of a lecture/demonstration by Danny Barker at Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro TN on 2 November 1990. The university department of music sponsored his appearance.

In his presentation Barker described his personal life and history including his family, jazz in New Orleans and New York, finding musical work in New Orleans, music as a way of self-identity and meeting whites, and the comparable role played by break dance and rap today. He also discussed the history of jazz including black benevolent societies and brass bands in New Orleans, barrel house piano playing, replacement of live music in barrel houses by juke boxes, the first appearance of blacks (Nat King Cole, Louis Jordan) on juke boxes, and Teddy Bunn's work as the first electric guitarist.

Barker's lecture also included performances of "Birth of the Blues", "Hey La Bas", "Mary Ann", "Chockomo" and other songs. Also a poster and a flyer announcing Barker's lecture/demonstration.


The audio tape is filed by tape number in the audio visual archives. The flyer is filed by accession number with other manuscript groups. The poster is filed by accession number with other oversize manuscripts.

Related materials:

A reference audio cassette tape is filed with commercial audio tapes.