BARNEY BIGARD

Albany Leon “Barney” Bigard (March 3, 1906 – June 27, 1980) was an American jazz clarinetist known for his 15-year tenure with Duke Ellington. He also played tenor saxophone.

Bigard was born in New Orleans to a family of Creoles. The son of Alexander and Emanuella Bigard, he had two brothers, Alexander Jr. and Sidney. His uncle, Emile Bigard, was a jazz violinist. He attended local schools and studied music and clarinet with Lorenzo Tio.

In the early 1920s he moved to Chicago, where he worked with King Oliver and others. During this period, much of his recording, including with clarinetist Johnny Dodds, was on tenor saxophone, which he played often with great lyricism, as on Oliver’s “Someday Sweetheart”.

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