Papa Jack Laine

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Papa Jack Laine
Birth name George Vital Laine
Also known as Jack Laine, Papa Jack, Papa Laine
Born (1873-09-21)September 21, 1873
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Origin New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Died June 1, 1966(1966-06-01) (aged 92)
Jackson, Louisiana, U.S.
Genres Marching band
Traditional jazz
Instruments cornet

George Vital "Papa Jack" Laine (September 21, 1873 – June 1, 1966) was an American musician and a pioneering band leader in New Orleans in the years from the Spanish–American War to World War I.[1] He was often credited for training many musicians which would later become successful in jazz music. His Marching band was named Reliance Brass Band and it was the first to fuse European, African and Latin music together. The earliest jazz musicians can be traced back to playing within the Reliance Brass Band or being influenced from those who had.[2]

Laine in 1906

Many of the New Orleans musicians who first spread jazz around the United States in the 1910s and 1920s got their start in Laines marching band, including the members of the Original Dixieland Jass Band. Laine was a drummer, but was more noted for his skills at arranging and booking bands. Laine's musicians included individuals from most of New Orleans' many ethnic groups such as African American, English, French, German, Irish, Italian, Jewish, Latin American, Scottish, etc. He started leading bands in 1885 before the Jim Crow laws went into effect in New Orleans.[3] Due to the diverse background of many of his bands members such as their cultural background, socioeconomic status, age variations from young to old as well as musical experience (some having none at all) a broad range of ideas were developed and fused together leading to the early beginnings of jazz music.[3]

Even after segregation laws started demanding "whites" and "colored" be kept separate, Laine continued to hire light- and medium light-skinned African-American musicians, claiming that they were "Cuban" or "Mexican" if any segregationist tried to start trouble. As such his band attracted a large and diverse group of people such as Mexican clarinetist Lorenzo Tio, Sr., a pioneer of the jazz solo. Laine believed music brought people together.[3] Laine retired from the music booking business by 1920, but he was interviewed a number of times, providing first hand accounts of the early days of the development of New Orleans jazz. He had hired well over 100 musicians to play in his bands, including the following:


  1. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Papa Jack Laine: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved April 17, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Birthplace of Jazz", New Orleans Music History Online,; accessed October 8, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "Papa Jack" George Vetiala Laine, National Park Service,