THE ICON: Danny Barker
THE LEGACY: There might have been musicians who could play their instruments better. Others might have been able to play louder or faster. But few knew how to play an audience as well as banjo king and raconteur Danny Barker, whose innuendo-laced tunes were always delivered with a wink and a smile. Though his decades-long career saw him play alongside everyone from Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong to Wynton Marsalis and Dr. John, arguably his greatest contribution to jazz was his later-in-life role of jazz preservationist. In addition to delivering lectures about the art form and mentoring countless young musicians, he notably founded the Fairview Baptist Church Brass Band in the 1970s, which revived the then-moribund brass band tradition — and through which he’s still making audiences smile.
THE ARTIST: Jeff Morgan
THE INSPIRATION: “I wouldn’t fret the least bit about this music dying out. People love a parade. There’s always going to be ‘When the Saints Go Marching In.'” — Danny Barker, on the revival of traditional New Orleans brass bands