Dukes of Dixieland

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The Dukes of Dixieland is a New Orleans "Dixieland"-style revival band, originally formed in 1948 by brothers Frank Assunto, trumpet; Fred Assunto, trombone; and their father Papa Jac Assunto, trombone and banjo. Their first records featured Jack Maheu, clarinet; Stanley Mendelsohn, piano; Tommy Rundell, drums; and Barney Mallon, tuba and string bass. During its run the band also featured musicians such as jazz great clarinetist Pete Fountain, Jerry Fuller, Jim Hall, Herb Ellis, and Bob "Duke" Assunto [son].

Fred and Frank Assunto both died young, and the original Dukes of Dixieland disbanded in the early 1970s. In April 1974, Producer/Manager John Shoup restarted the DUKES of Dixieland with Connie Jones as leader, leased Louis Prima's nightclub atop the Monteleone Hotel in the French Quarter and renamed it "DUKE'S PLACE." The DUKES of Dixieland have not been affiliated with the Assunto Family since 1974, some 37 years ago.

Dukes of Dixieland were featured on the first stereo record, released November 1957, on the Audio Fidelity label. Sidney Frey, founder and president of Audio Fidelity, had Westrex cut the disk for release before any of the major record labels. In 1978, the DUKES recorded the first Direct-to-Disk album, and then, in 1984, were the first jazz band to record on CD. In 1980, they recorded a television special at the old Civic Theater in New Orleans, with the New Orleans Pops Orchestra and later performed in a TV special with Woody Herman, "Wood Choppers Ball." In 1986, they invited jazz master Danny Barker to perform with them at Mahogany Hall to record a television special "Salute to Jelly Roll Morton". In 2001, their gospel CD "Gloryland" was nominated for a Grammy. In 2011, they recorded with The Oak Ridge Boys, in Nashville, TN, a CD titled "Country Meets Dixie."

They have performed with symphony orchestras, including the Cincinnati, Cleveland, Chicago, National, New York Pops (in Carnegie Hall), and 29 other orchestras around the world. In 2005, they traveled aboard the Steamboat Natchez up the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers to Cincinnati, OH, raising money for the Bush-Clinton Katrina Relief Fund, while many of the band members' homes were still destroyed. In 2011, they performed with the Boston Pops.

Band Alumni[edit]

1975-80

  • Mike Vax
  • Dick Johnson
  • Billy Menier
  • Otis Bazoon
  • Al Bernard
  • Jerry Mehan
  • Bob O'Rourke
  • Bill Huntington

1981-85

  • Frank Trapani
  • Phamous Lambert
  • Bobby Floyd
  • Freddy Kohlman

1986-89

1990-2010

  • Richard Taylor
  • Al Barthlow
  • Everett Link
  • Ben Smith
  • Tim Laughlin
  • Kevin Clark
  • Earl Bonie
  • Mike Fulton
  • Jamie Wight
  • Tom McDermott

2011-2012

  • Kevin Clark
  • Ben Smith
  • Scott Obenschain
  • Ryan Burrage
  • Alan Broome
  • J.J. Juliano

2013-

  • Kevin Clark
  • Ben Smith
  • Scott Obenschain
  • Ryan Burrage
  • Alan Broome
  • Paul Thibodeaux
  • Colin Meyers

Guest / Featured Artists[edit]

  • Danny Barker
  • Charlie Brent
  • Pete Fountain
  • George French
  • Woody Herman
  • Moses Hogan
  • Luther Kent
  • Jack Maheu
  • New Orleans Gospel Choir
  • Joe Williams
  • The Oak Ridge Boys
  • Reed Vaughan
  • Karl J. Karlsson

See also[edit]

References[edit]

1. Spedale, Rhodes. A Guide to Jazz in New Orleans. Pg. 135 ISBN 0-940594-08-0
2. Rose, Al. I Remember Jazz. Pgs. 14, 45, 151, 181 ISBN 0-8071-1315-8 LSU Press
3. Rose, Al. New Orleans Jazz (A Family Album). Pgs 1, 6, 12, 29, 40, 41, 49, 74, 77, 85, 110, 115, 138, 149, 191, 224 ISBN 0-8071-1158-9 LSU Press

External links[edit]