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Gregory "Blodie" Davis, Trumpet BORN: New Orleans,January 30,1957 Played with the Hurricane Brass Band and briefly with the Majestic Brass Band; leader of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band Interviewed at the offices of Festival Productions on Camp Street, October looz I've lived most of my life here in Neve Orleans. For a brief period in the sixties, the family moved out to Los Angeles,but that was only for about ayear and a half. Fortunately, we cameback to New Orleans. My family's notparticularly large:I have three brothers and onesister. I have one brother whoplays keyboards in the church, but I'm the only onewho has made music my primary source of income. I had an older brotherwho went tosummer music camp. He was more into the sports side of it, and when he would leave togo to camp, he wouldn't bring his instrument—he'd leave it at home.I'd sneak it out andplay. It wasa baritone horn. I was in the seventh grade, at the age of twelve,justfooling round with the horn, teaching myself. After that summer, when school opened, I enrolled in the music class. At that time, I went to Andrew}. Bell school.After threeyears there, I went on to St. Augustine. That's when I met LeroyJones. My original intent was toplay drums. There were maybe twenty other kids in the class that wanted toplay drums, and maybe two drums. So Ijust didn't see afuture in that. The instructor offered me a French horn, but I thought the case was kind of ugly; I didn't want to carry it on the bus. The next pretty-looking case that he had was the onefor a cornet.Soat thirteen, I ended up playing cornet in thejunior high school band. My track went like this: in the beginning, I was in the school marching band. From thatpoint, I startedplaying with some of the rhythm and blues andfunk bands here in New Orleans. Friends wouldform a band, and we'd play. I didn't really have any influences ; I wasjustplaying the trumpet in the band.Just learning how toplay some music, without anyparticular direction. I spent some time with Jean Knight, who had a hit record with "Mr. Big Stuff" in the seventies. Then I went on to highschool, whereI becamefriends with LeroyJones. He had been under Danny Barker's tutelage with the Fairview Baptist Churchband. Then he went on toform the Hurricane Brass Band, and he asked me tojoin it. As heprogressed on his instrument, playingjazz and all, hegot too busy to maintain the Hurricane band. He wasplaying on Bourbon Street and doing other things. Myself and some of the others started another brass band, which we called the Tor69 nado. That lasted a couple of months. Money problems—stuff wasjust happening that shouldn't. So we moved on and started another unit, which ended up being the Dirty Dozen. That's where my association with Danny Barker really came about. It was through his teaching ofLerqy and the others I could trace my musical line back to him. With the Dirty Dozen, wefeatured Danny onThe New Orleans Album. When the group started, there was no work. Nobody was really hiring brass bands. In the mid to late seventies, there wasn't enough to keep the Hurricane band working, and that's what had caused Lerqy to move on—there was more of an opportunity for him to play and earn money on Bourbon Street at that time. So when we started the Dozen, it was meant to be a rehearsal group more than anything else, because there wasn't any work poinv around. o o The original group was myself, Kirk and CharlesJoseph. Tuba Fats used to come to the rehearsals, but when we startedplaying things other thanjust traditional music, Tuba didn't want to dothat. Roger Lewis was actually working with Fats Domino when wegot the band started. He camealongright at the end of the Tornado band; he came out toplay aparade with us. And then he came with us in the Dirty Dozen. Wehad another cornetplayer named Cyrille Salvant (he's dead now), and Andrew "Big Daddy" Green and BennyJonesplayed drums. In the beginning, there was a lot of rehearsal going on, so several people were in and out. We started to develop a repertoire. Then we knew who the band was going to be. There was me, Efrem Towns,Roger Lewis, Kevin Harris on tenor...


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