This historical marker indicates the birthplace of Danny Barker. Barker is best known for his musical accomplishments, but was also a historian, teacher, author, actor, and a painter. He played on over 1,000 records during his illustrious musical career.
Danny Barker (January 13, 1909-March 13, 1994) was born in
New Orleans to a musical family. He was the grandson of Isidore Barbarin, a
notable bandleader, and the nephew of Paul and Louis Barbarin, who were
drummers. The first instruments he learned to play were the clarinet and the
drums. He later switched to a ukulele his gave him and later still learned to
play the banjo. Barker played rhythm guitar for bands such as Cab Calloway,
Lucky Millinder, and Benny Carter during the thirties. He played with a number
of legendary musicians, including Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson, and Mezz
Mezzrow. He married singer Blu Lu, who he also recorded and toured with. Blue
Lu Barker was inducted into the Louisiana Blues Hall of Fame in 1997.
Danny Barker’s first music group was a street band called
the Boozan Kings. Before moving to New York in 1930, he also toured throughout
Mississippi with Little Brother Montgomery. Shortly after moving to New York,
he played with Fess Williams, Billy Fowler, and the White Brothers. He
collaborated with Buddy Harris in 1933 and with Albert Nicholas in 1935. From
1937-38 he worked with Lucky Millinder and with Benny Carter later in 1938.
During the fifties, he traveled to California to record with Albert Nicholas.
He moved back to New Orleans in 1965 and began working as a
curator’s assistant at the New Orleans Jazz Museum. He started the Fairview
Baptist Church Marching Band in 1970. This later became the popular Dirty Dozen
brass band. He was also the bandleader for the French Markey Jazz Band during
this period of his life.