Gerald French & The Original Tuxedo Jazz Band
The Original Tuxedo Jazz Band represents the history of jazz in New Orleans. The band, whose name recalls the Tuxedo Dance Hall in the district of Storyville, was born in 1910 thanks to the cornetist Oscar "Papa" Celestin, who led the group for 44 years. After his death in 1954, he was succeeded by trombonist Eddie Pierson, who remained in charge for 4 years, and later by the banjo player Albert "Papa" French, who led the band for 20 years. During his leadership, the band took up residence at the Traditional Hall, the first African-American owned club on Bourbon Street. After the death of Albert in 1977, his son Bob took the leadership, expanding the repertoire and accepting the 2009 "Saturday Gig" at the Jazz Playhouse in the Royal Sonesta Hotel. Today the band is led by drummer Gerald French, nephew of Bob, nowadays guardian of more than 100 years of musical tradition and fifth director of Tuxedo. Gerald was inspired by great N.O. artists such as Louis Barbarin, Smokey Johnson, Ernest Elly, Duke Barker, Frank Oxley, Russell Batiste, Shannon Powell, Raymond Weber and Herlin Riley.