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James "Little Twelve" Andrews, Trumpet BORN: New Orleans, January u, 1969 Played with Danny Barker's Roots ofJazz Brass Band; founder of the All Star Brass Band; currently with the New Birth Brass Band Interviewed on the banks of the Mississippi River, November zooz James Andrews and Mick Burns, November 2002 Photo by Entile Martyn I was horn in the Treme as well as my brother Troy, a.k.a. Trombone Shorty. A couple of my unclesflayed with Fats Domino—they were Walter "Papoose" Nelson and Prince La La. My grandfather wasJesse Hill; he wrote thefamous song "Oo PooPah Do." Then a couple of my cousinsplay with the Rebirth band, and a couple of themplayed with the Dirty Dozen. That's Revert Andrews and GlenAndrews. I have another brother named Terry Nelson; heplays snare drum with the Lil' Rascals Brass Band. I came toplaying music bybeinga kid in New Orleans. A long time ago,I usedto bea tap dancer onBourbon Street. Ijust had a wonderful lovefor music and watching all the oldguysfrom the PreservationHall and the Olympia BrassBand with Milton Batiste and Harold Dejan and thejazzfunerals. Iplayed a little bit in school, but I always wantedto play New Orleans brassband music because I love that sound.Milton Batiste wasa childhood hero of mine—the Olympia was everywhere when I was a kid, the number one band. Danny Barker came by my house one day. He was starting a band called Roots of Jazz with some kids my age.Some kind of way, I wound upplaying the bassdrum in that 160 band. I was around thirteenyears old. Then weflayed at the World's Fair here in New Orleans in 1984, and after that I formed a band calledthe All Star Brass Band. I wasflaying trumpet in that band. At that time, we had my brother Terry Nelson on snare drum, KerwinJames on tuba, Revert Andrews and Mark Jolly ontrombones, and a guy called Larry Barabino. We used toflay inJackson Square. And there was Sammy Rimingtonjr. on clarinet and Nicholas Payton on trumpet—he was about ten years old. Wemade some nice money,and whenyouplay inJackson Square,you get this feelingyou're playing with different musicianspassing through. After a while,you can go out in the world andplay infront of any kind of crowd. It was agreat experience. So Jackson Square was like afoundation thatprepared'you togo andplay in anyfestival or any kind of club. The way I learned the tunes was togo to Preservation Hall every night and listen at what they were doing. OrI would buy albums, take them home,and learn the tunes.It was just the regular traditional songs everybody wasplaying around town—"St.James Infirmary ," "St. Louis Blues," "When You're Smiling," different things like that. That went onfor a long time, around tenyears. I started with brassbands becausein the Tremewe always have second lines.I guess it waspart of my nature, beingfrom that neighborhood. I became a musician because I love the music, and I love toperform infront of people —it's that thingyou get from the crowd, that energy and adrenaline. People listen to your music, and theyfeel warm, and they kind of respectyou. You can make them happy. I got a lot of trumpet influences from New Orleansplayers: Milton Batiste, Teddy Riley,Jack Willis, Gregg Stafford, LeroyJones, Kid Sheik, Percy Humphrey, Thomas Jefferson—he was one of theguys that influenced me most.I saw him at the FamousDoor when I wasa kid. I used to see the respect that they got from being a bandleader, and how the guys looked up to them, how they worked together and knocked the songs off. Then, by being infestivals later on, I got introduced topeople like Clark Terry and Dizzy Gillespie. As a kid, I was in a socialandpleasure club in the Treme called the Money Wasters. They'd parade around the city and dojazz funerals when a member died. So the brass band thing was always somewhereclose in my life, even up to today. A long time ago in Congo Square, they used to do a celebration on Louis Armstrong's birthday, the Fourth of July. They had somethingthey called the Soundalike Contest. I didn't know what I was doing, but I've always had an ear—I could hear stuff andpick it up. I entered thecontest a lot of times and didn't win for a lot ofyears. When wegot it togetherwith the All Star band, we came there and won the contestfor afew...


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