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Day People & Night People

Danny Barker


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Jan. 13, 1909 - Mar. 13, 1994


Banjoist, guitarist and vocalist Daniel Moses "Danny" Barker was born January 13, 1909 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Barker was born to a family of musicians, and grew up playing clarinet, ukelele, drums and banjo.

In 1930 he moved to New York City and began playing guitar. There he recorded with Cab Calloway and Bunk Johnson, and also led a group featuring his wife Blue Lu Barker.

In 1965 Barker moved back to New Orleans where he worked as assistant to the curator of the New Orleans Jazz Museum and founded a church-sponsored youth marching band.

Danny Barker talks about day people, night people and the difference between the two before performing with the band in excerptions from the 1989 documentary "Liberty Street"

String player Danny Barker grew up in the mist of a developing jazz climate in New Orleans witnessing bands led by legends such as Buddy Bolden first hand.

Barker performed as a banjoist in some prominent bands before leaving New Orleans bound for New York City in 1930.

Once in New York, Danny Barker switched to the more popular guitar. Over the years he played in many bands including those of Sidney Bechet, Fess Williams, James P. Johnson, Lucky Millinder, Benny Carter, and Cab Calloway.

Danny Barker never cared for bebop, instead of trying to keep up with changing times he returned to banjo and became a key figure in the Dixieland revival.

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