Paul Barbarin

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Barbarin, left, plays drums with a band on Rampart Street in New Orleans, 1919. Also pictured, left to right: Arnold Metoyer, trumpet; Luis Russel, piano; Willie Santiago, banjo; Albert Nicholas, saxophones & clarinet.

Adolphe Paul Barbarin[1] (May 5, 1899 – February 17, 1969)[2][3][4] was a New Orleans jazz drummer, usually regarded (along with Baby Dodds) as one of the very best of the pre-Big Band era jazz drummers. He studied under the famed drummer, Louis Cottrell, Sr.

Paul Barbarin's year of birth is often given as 1901, but his brother Louis Barbarin (born 1902) said he was quite sure that Paul was several years older than he was, and Paul Barbarin simply refused to answer the year of his birth in an interview at Tulane's Jazz Archives.

From the late 1910s on, Barbarin divided his time between Chicago, New York City and New Orleans, and touring with such bands as those of Joe "King" Oliver, Luis Russell, Louis Armstrong, and Henry Red Allen. From the 1950s on, he usually led his own band. He, along with Louis Cottrell, Jr., founded and led the second incarnation of the Onward Brass Band from 1960 to 1969.

Barbarin was an accomplished and knowledgeable musician, a member of ASCAP, and the composer of a number of pop tunes and Dixieland standards, including "Come Back Sweet Papa", "Don't Forget to Mess Around (When You're Doing the Charleston)", "Bourbon Street Parade", and "(Paul Barbarin's) Second Line".

Barbarin's tomb, St. Louis Cemetery #2, New Orleans.

Paul Barbarin died on February 17, 1969 while playing snare drums with Onward Brass Band during a New Orleans Mardi Gras parade. Record producer Al Rose said that his funeral "attracted one of the great mobs in New Orleans funeral history."[5]


  1. ^ Barbarin history at
  2. ^ Paul Barbarin Biography at
  3. ^ Jazz birthdays at
  4. ^ Jazz birthdays at
  5. ^ Rose, Al (1987). I Remember Jazz: Six Decades Among the Great Jazzmen. Baton Rouge and London: LSU Press. pp. 218–220. ISBN 0-8071-2571-7. 

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