red hot jazz jazzbanner

As a young man in New Orleans, Barney Bigard (March 3, 1906 – June 27, 1980) took clarinet lessons with Lorenzo Tio Jr. and Papa Tio. He played the instrument in parades in New Orleans, but first became known as a tenor-saxophonist.

After working with several groups in New Orleans, Bigard moved to Chicago where he played with King Oliver from 1925 until 1927. He would also record with Jelly Roll MortonJohnny Dodds and Louis Armstrong while in the Windy City.Barney-Bigard

In 1927, Bigard toured with Oliver, but quit shortly afterwards and played for a little with the Charles Elgar’s Creole Orchestra and Luis Russell Orchestra. Bigard found his niche with Duke Ellington’s Orchestra, where he almost exclusively played clarinet. Between 1927 and 1942 he was featured on many of Ellington‘s classic recordings, including “Mood Indigo”which Bigard co-composed.

When he grew tired of touring and quit the band in 1942, Bigard played with Freddie Slack’s big band, and Kid Ory’s Creole Orchestra. He also appeared in the 1946 film “New Orleans.” In 1947, Bigard joined the Louis Armstrong All-Stars, and constantly toured the world with the group until 1955, when he left the band. He later re-joined the band from 1960-61. He spent 1958-59 with Cozy Cole’s big band.

Bigard was semi-retired after 1962, but still played now and then, recording with Earl Hines, and playing in a Johnny St. Cyr’s Dixieland band called the Young Men from New Orleans at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.

sss band or session leader

Barney Bigard and his JazzopatorsBarney Bigard and his Orchestra
Barney Bigard SextetBarney Bigard Trio
Barney Bigard Quintet

Black And Tan FantasyDudley Murphy1929
Symphony In BlackFred Waller1935
Hot ChocolateJosef Berne1941
New OrleansArthur Lubin1947
St. Louis BluesAllen Reisner1958

With Louis And The Duke by Barney Bigard, edited by Barry Martyn, Oxford University Press, 1985


The site supplying most of the MP3 files to the Red Hot Jazz Archive pages on is down and many links no longer work. You may find the original and download all of the original RealMedia .ra music files on the WayBackMachine at