Carl Barriteau was born in Trinidad, West Indies in 1914. He received his first musical tuition at the Belmont Orphanage in Trinidad and later gigged with Bert McLean's Jazz Hounds before moving to Britain in May, 1937. Twelve days later he joined Ken Snakehips Johnson's band to play alto sax and clarinet. The clarinet had now become his main instrument and his style became nearer to Artie Shaw than Benny Goodman. He worked with Johnson until the air raid at the Café de Paris in March, 1941 that killed the leader and seriously injured Barriteau with a broken wrist. Later in 1941, Barriteau reformed Johnson's band for a handful of Jazz Jamboree concerts and some BBC dates before forming his own band at the Cotton Club
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