The Eclipse Brass Band performed from 1897 untill 1917
The Eclipse Brass Band was formed on the Magnolia Plantation, a large, sugar producing agricultural industry in Plaquemines Parish, founded in 1874 by Henry Clay Warmoth. Warmoth hired Jim Humphrey at the Magnolia plantation to teach his bandsmen. The ledgers of the plantation indicate that Warmoth started paying Jim Humphrey to instruct a brass band in march 1897.
Eclipse was also the name of one of the four horse racing tracks in New Orleans.
From these musicians it’s known that they played in the Brass Band:
|Cornet/trumpet||James B “professor Jim” Humphrey, Chris Kelly, Sam Morgan, Effie Jones (nominally the leader), Musterfer Johnson (Eb cornet after Sunny Henry came into the band), Thomas Barnes, John Anderson, Pierre Anderson (about 1905 – ), Harrison Barnes (1905 – 1913 when he went to New Orleans), Burke Stevenson16,|
|Trombone||Musterfer Johnson (valve tb), Charles “Sunny” Henry (valve tb – 1913)he, left Magnolia in 1913 for New Orleans)8,p134, Harrison Barnes (1906 – )8,p134, John Anderson ( ), Pierre Anderson ( )|
|Clarinet||Alfred Barnes (Eb cl), Thomas Barnes (Bb cl), William Eli Humphrey.|
|Bariton horn||Freddie Barnes, Thomas Barnes|
|Alto horn||Willie Henry, Ybo (William Ybor?)|
|Tuba||Wright Reddick (It was an old upright tuba), Charles “Sunny” Henry|
|Snare drum||Jim McGuinis|
|Bass drum||Robert Reddick|
|Leader||Effie Jones, James B. “Professor Jim” Humphrey|
Harrison, Alfred and Thomas Barnes were brothers.
Wright Reddick was a cousin of the Barnes brothers.
Barnes’ brother in law, Effie Jones, was the leader of the band, before Humphrey.
Willy Henry was a brother of Charles Sunny Henry
Charles “Sonny” Henry left the Magnolia Plantation and went to New Orleans
Source: Jazzgazette – January 2003
Charles ‘Sonny’ Henry and Harrison Barnes were born on Magnolia Plantation long before the turn of the century, Sonny Henry on November 17, 1885 and Barnes January 13, 1889. The Magnolia Plantation was welknown for its brass band and skilled musicians. A very important role in this musical wealth was played by Professor Jim Humphrey. “Magnolia Plantation, they used to call it Lawrence Post Office and Governor H.C. Warmouth Plantation…The boys called me ‘Sonny’ when I was a kid. My brother played alto in the band, The Magnolia Band, called it the Eclipse Band. I was a kid…going to school, but him was in the field, working, and every day I used to grab hold of his alto and play it…and he’d come jump on me. And so what he did…he took his mouthpiece in the field. My brother in law, Effie Jones, he was a cornet player at that time and I used to go there play his horn. That’s how I was starting playing. And he took the trumpet away and then I didn’t have a thing to play. And so I told my father about it. He said: ‘You go to the store and you tell the storekeeper to get you a trumpet.’ I took it and carried home and all night with the trumpet, till three o’clock in the morning I was playing. I must have been fifteen years old or so, just finishing school. I did go to school no further then the seventh grade. Seventh grade in them times was work. The school used to be at the Plantation. They were raising sugar cane.
Jim Humphrey used to come there and teach the boys. I was a little kid. I’d get in the window. Jim Humphrey used to show them fellows everything. They did have sixteen men in that band. When Jim Humphrey was gone, I could go there and show them everything what Jim Humphrey showed them. When I growned a little more older they wanted me to get in the band.
On trombone, valve trombone was a fellow they called Musterfer Johnson. They wanted him to change, to take E-flat trumpet. He told me that he would take the E-flat trumpet if they would give me the trombone. So they give me that trombone. Then Jim Humphrey came there that night and he say ‘I’m going to see what he know, you get your trombone’ and the first piece he brought was ‘Whistling Rufus’. He say ‘Come on, I want to see what you know’. And I played the whole thing. Then Jim Humphrey told the boys ‘That young boy done come in here and look what he done did. You fellows been around here for years and he done come in and done beat all of you’.
Musterfer Johnson played valve trombone. They had about four trumpets, two clarinets. Effie Jones, John Anderson, Pierre Anderson and Harrison Barnes. They had E-flat clarinet, Alfred Barnes, that was Harrison’s brother. And Thomas Barnes, B-flat clarinet, that was his older brother. They had two first and second alto horns. My brother Willie Henry played second and Ybo first. I know they used to call him Ybo, but his right name (William Ybor?) I done forget. Barritone was Freddy Barnes. On tuba a fella called Wright Reddick, one of my cousins. It was an old upright tuba. The bass drum player was Robert Reddick. They didn’t have no wire beater, but they had two cymbals. They had one on the drum and the other cymbal would beat on the top of it.
When Jim Humphrey wasn’t there my brother in law Effie Jones was the leader of the band. The first way Jim Humphrey he’d play with the band. He would get them on its feet and then he’d come in with his trumpet. But the first thing he would do, that battery, that’s the first thing he would get straight. That’s the bass and the trombone and the drum. And then he’d jump on the trumpets. Because that battery that’s the foundation of the band.
He used to write the music we played. Professor Humphrey used to write out all kinds of little stuff, little light stuff, hymns and 6/8 marches. He was really good. He could write out the parts and give it to you and you should play it.
I used to write to H.N. White, Cleveland, Ohio for that music and he used to send me samples. I got a piece called ‘Greater Pittsburgh March’. Every time Professor Humphrey came down, the band used to go out there and meet him at the train. And so we went there one night with that piece and he’d say ‘I didn’t give y’all that!’
Professor Jim Humphrey used to come at night with the six o’clock train and he would stay until the next morning. He would get on the eight o’clock train. He used to go from place to place, Woodland, St Sophie, Dear Range and other places’.i1
8 Louis Armstrong’s New Orleans by Thomas Brothers
16 New Orleans Jazz, family album by Al Rose and Edmond Souchon