One of the premier clarinet players in the history of jazz, Barney Bigard remains immortal. Bigard carried the influence of his birth city, New Orleans, throughout his career. He played tenor sax but later concentrated on clarinet, which he studied with Lorenzo Tio. In 1925 he was hired by King Oliver and moved to Chicago. After two years with Oliver, he joined Duke Ellington’s Orchestra where he would remain for 15 years. Bigard’s New Orleans-style clarinet added another dimension to Ellington’s palette. His individual style and articulation were universally admired. His woody sound was a highlight of “Rose Room” and “Mood Indigo,” which he co-wrote with Ellington. He was also a valued ensemble player and capable improviser.
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