Onward Brass Band

Original the Onward Brass Band performed from about 1884 until somewhere in the 1930s.
In 1917, when Perez went to Chicago (second time) he probably disbanded the Onward. When Perez came back to New Orleans 1921-1922 he reformed the Onward until the mid 1920s, after that Perez changed the name into Imperial Brass Band.


Uniform: The Onward’s winter uniforms were blue serge coats with a black side
In the summer they wore white pants, blue jackets and white caps.i5

From this musicians it’s known that they played in the Original Onward Brass Band:

Cornet/trumpet Bellevue Lenair=J.O. Lainezi10 (from the beginning- )¹, Sylvester “Sylvest” Coustaut or Crusto¹, Manuel “Manole” Perez (1898/1899 – 1923), Paul Chaligny (in late 1800s), Andrew Kimball (some time after 1910 – ), Peter Bocage (1918 – ), Oscar Ducongé (solo Eb-cornetist) (1890 – ), Sidney Desvigne (under Perez some time after 1907 – ), James McNeil,  Joe “King” Oliver (some time after 1910 – 1917)6,p29, Maurice Durand (1919 – ), Manuel Coustaut , Lee Collins, Ricard “Rick”Alexis (1922/23 -), Louis Armstrong ( – 1928), Albert Dominique called Don Albert (1922 – ), Paquette “Punkie” Valentin, Adolph Alexander sr,
Trombone George Filhe¹ (valve + slide) (from the beginning 1893 – 1913), Steve Johnson¹ (valve), Vic Gaspard ( -1910), Warren Aaron Clark (1890 – 1894)16, John Baptiste DeLisle (Ca 189016 -1899), Buddy Johnson (1899 -), Eddie Atkins (around 1905 – ), Earl Humphrey, Butler “Guyé” Rapp or Guy-A Rapp (the jazzgazette), Arthur Yank Johnson, Roy Palmer, Charles “Sonny” Henry ( – ), Steve Johnson
Clarinet Louis Arthidore (Arthedeau, Artidore or Arthidor), Lorenzo Tio jr. (some time after 1910 – ), Luis, Tio, George Baquet (1900 – ) 8,p85, Alphonse Picou, Eddie Cherie or Cherrie, Mitchell Watson=Joe Watkins (early 1920s – )
Bariton horn Aaron Warren Clark sr.¹ (1889 –  1890-9416), Adolphe Alexander sr. (some time after 1910 – )6,p29, Eddie Atkins ( – 1917), Peter Bocage (before playing the cornet), Joseph “Red” Clark sr.,
Alto horn (peck horn) Bartholomew Bruno¹, Isidore Barbarin (1889-98 and 1899-1927, early 1890s)16, 6,p84 – 8,p12, Joseph Bruno (1900 – ), Adolphe “Old Man Tat” Alexander sr.,
Tuba Tom Landry (1890s), Frank Jackson (1890s), Gabe Lawrence, Eddie Jackson (1910-1912)16, Albert Tucker, Henry Lambert, Jerome “Jerry” Gerold Greene Sr
Snare drum Abby “Chinee” Foster,  Louis Cottrell sr, Nathaniel “Bebé” Matthews (some time after 1910 -), DeeDee Chandler, Henry Zeno ( – 1917), Oliver Jiles, Alfred Williams (early 1920s -), Louis Barbarin,
Milford Dolliole,
Bass drum Mike Gillen or McGillen, “Black Benny” Williams (1915 under Perez – 1924), Ernest Trepagnier (under Perez), Jean Vigne (under Perez), “Dandy” Lewis (under Perez 1910? – ), Henry Martin (1924 – he replaced Williams),  Clay Jiles, Oscar Jiles, Christopher “Black Happy” Goldston, Nathaniel “Bebe” Matthews
Leader Prof. J.O. Lainez (1887-1898), James MacNeil (1898-1899), Manuel “Manole” Perez (1900-1930), Joe “King” Oliver (some time in the period of 1915-1916, when Perez was in Chicago), Maurice Durand (when Perez was absense),
Manager Steve Johnson

1884, Cuba:
“Cuban Influences on New Orleans Music” essay by Jack Stewarti6 and i7

1887, January 8:
The Onward paraded through the streets of New Orleans, tells the Pelican.

1887, April:
Headed by the Onward the Longshoreman’s Union and the Ladies Aid Union Longshoreman’s Association, marched to a grand rally at the New Hope Church across the river at Algiers.
Waterfront workers of New Orleans, written by Eric Arnesen.p 84

1887, June 4:
The Onward led the parade from the Longshoremen’s Protective Union Benevolent Association, celebrating it’s 15th anniversary.

1887, September 10:
The Weekly Pelican wrote that the Onward received their new caps.

1887, December 31:
According to the Weekly Pelican, the Onward Brass Band played at the night parade for the Larendon Rifles.

According to Edmond Hall (New Orleans style by Bill Russell page 204) the band played in New York, with his father on  clarinet

1898, May 1:
New Orleans Item wrote about the Onward playing a concert at Spanish Fort (a resort/amusement area eastward down the shore of Lake Ponchartrain from West End) given from 2:30 until 6:00 PM. The Great Northern Railraod Company re-opened this resort for the black community.

A lot of the band members enlisted in the army for the Spanish American War.
The band, under direction of James McNeil under the name of the Ninth Immunes Regimental Band was sent to Cuba.

“According to bandleader Jack Laine’s cornetist Ray Lopez, a send-off parade for black troops on their way to Cuba during the Spanish-American War, apparently featured two bands-one with Buddy Bolden that stayed in New Orleans-and another that left on the ship with the troops. From research currently in progress, by Stephanie Brown and Maureen S. Wright, grandaughters of Sylvestre Coustaut, who was a leader and/or founder of the Onward Brass Band, it appears that the Onward Brass Band is most likely the band that Jack Laine’s cornetist Ray Lopez remembers as the band that accompanied the black troops on the ship to Cuba. This seems to also combine with information noted in Samuel Charters musicians’ index. Additionally, according to research in progress by historian John McCusker, if all information correlates, then the ship which carried members of the Onward Brass Band and others to Cuba may have been the USS Berlin. Note: Ray Lopez, interview, Hogan Jazz Archive, Tulane University, August 30, 1958, Reel III (transcribed excerpt on Buddy Bolden by Ralph Adamo); Company Muster Rolls, June 17, 1898 – August 17, 1898, Company B, Station of Company at San Juan Hill, National Archives, Washington, D.C.; Samuel B. Charters, Jazz New Orleans, 1885-1963, New York, Oak Publications, 1963, pp. 7 & 15; John McCusker, interview, April, 1998.”i7

(Courtesy of Hogan Jazz Archive, Tulane University)

Brass band onward 1913





Onward Brass Band (1913) – Manuel Perez – Andrew Kimball – Peter Bocage – Lorenzo Tio jr – Adolphe Alexander sr – Bébé Matthews – Dandy Lewis – Isidore Barbarin – Buddy Johnson – Vic Gaspard – Eddie Atkins – Eddie Jackson.i8

They played the funeral of Henry Zeno, drummer of Joe Oliver’s band.12

Manuel Perez temporarily disbanded the band.

1922, August 8:
Louis Armstrong played his last job in (Algiers) New Orleans with the Onward, before going to Chicago the next day.
It was the funeral of trombone player Eddie Vinson’s father in Algiers.
Maurice Durand, sometimes leader of the Onward brass band was telling the story about Louis playing in the Onward.


Trumpet Avery “Kid” Howard (from the start – ), Albert Walters (from the start – ), Ernest “Ernie” Cagnolatti (from the start -), Theodore Riley, Alvin Alcorn
Trombone Louis Nelson (from the start – ), Albert Warner, Clement Tervalon, Wendell Eugene, Homer Eugene,  Jim Robinson, Frank Naundorf, Maynard Chatters
Clarinet Louis Cottrell jr. (Eb from the start – 1978)
Alto sax Oscar Rouzan
Tenor sax Jesse Charles
Mellophone Joshua “Jack” Willis (from the start – )
Sousaphone William “Grant” Brown (from the start- ), Jerome “Jerry” Gerold Green Sr., Placide Adams, Anthony “Tuba Fats” Lacen
Snare drum Louis Barbarin, (from the start – ), Placide Adams, Alec Bigard, Kurt Robert Nicewander
Bass drum Paul Barbarin (former – 1969), Chester Jones
Leaders Paul Barbarin (1955 – 1969), Louis Cottrell jr (1969 – 1978), Placide Adams (1978 – 2003), Kurt Robert Nicewander (2003 – )

1962: (Derby day)
Louis Barbarin, Paul Barbarin (tb-leader), Ernie Cagnolatti, Louis Cotrell jr, Jack Willis (cl), Louis Nelson, Jerry Greene (tp).

1965, January 23: (Funeral of piano player Lester Santiago, which was recorded)
Brass band onward kid howard




Avery “Kid” Howard (tp), Ernest Cagnolatti (tp), Andrew Morgan (sax), Harold Dejan (as), Joseph Thomas (cl), Minor Anderson (tuba), Joshua “Jack” Willis (mell), Lousi Barbarin (sn dr), Placide Adams (sn dr), Clement Tervalon (tb), Worthia Thomas (tb),
Avery “Kid” Howard

1966, April 2:
The Onward played at the funeral of Avery Kid Howard, with the Olympia Brassband. (Notes from a diary by Jim Finch (See New Orleans Music Vol 15 no 6)

1966: spring
(according to Lee Friedlander in his book “the Jazz people of New Orleans”)
Fats Houston (Grand-Marshall), Louis Cotrell (cl), Louis Barbarin (sndm), Chester Jones (bsdm), Andrew Morgan (ts), Jerry Green

1967, May 6 :
(meeting members of the Easy Riders Jazz Band at the airport of New Orleans)
Polo Barnes (cl), Alec Bigard (sndm), Chester Jones (bsdm), Jim Robinson (tb), Worthia “Showboy” Thomas (tb), Ernest “Punch” Miller (tp), George “Kid Sheik” Cola (tp), Kid Thomas Valentine (tp), Emanuel “Manny” Paul (ts)


1969, February 10: Funeral of Paul Barbarin
Brass band Onward 1969 funeral P.Barbarin (Michael P. Smith)










Paul Barbarin died whilst leading the band on a dedication parade.
(Picture Michael P. Smith) i2

Brass band Onward 1972








1973, September 13:
Brass band onward 1973





(Picture Jack Buerkle) i2
left to right: Louis Barbarin, Chester Jones and Placide Adams

Brass band Onward Louis Barbarin



(Picture ?)i9
Milford Dolliole or Louis Barbarin. About this question I got an answer from Gunnar Gotaas from the Magnolia Jazzband. He’s sure it’s Louis Barbarin

Brass band Onward Louis Barbarin1





(picture Jack Buerkle)
Louis Barbarin (sn dm)

Ca. 1975
Brass band Onward 1975 Gillespie





(Picture ?)

Dizzy Gilliespie (trp), Placide Adam (sn dm), Jerry Greene (tuba), Grand Marshall (?). Occasion (?)

1976: Jazzfest
Brass band Onward 1976 Jazzfest (Harriet Blum)





(Picture Harriet Blum) i1

2003: Jazzfest
Brass band Onward 2003 Jazzfest





The Onward Brass Band at the Economy Hall stage.
The hat on the drum is in memory of Placide Adams, the leader of the group.
He passed away shortly before JazzFest.

2006, August 6: New Orleans, Satchmo Summerfest
The Onward Brass Band played at Satchmo Summerfest.
Kurt Nicewander (sn dr – leader), Ernie Ellie (bs dm), Jamie Wight (clar), Kirk Joseph (tuba), Louis Ford (sax), Tom Fischer (sax), Charles Joseph (tb)

2009, February 19:
Mr. Kurt Nicewander emails us telling that there will be a new CD of the Onward soon.
CD’s of this brassband: Brassband history on CD

Sources books:
6 Bunk Johnson his life & times by Christopher Hillman
8 Louis Armstrong’s New Orleans by Thomas Brothers
12 Satchmo, My life in New Orleans by Louis Armstrong
16 New Orleans Jazz, family album by Al Rose and Edmond Souchon

Sources (internet):
i1 http://www.jazzystuff.net/hbobb.html
i2 home.earthlink.net/~marketjazz/id12.html
i3 www.mladina.si/tednik/200107/clanek/new-orleans/
i4 http://www.lutheransonline.com/servlet/lo_ProcServ/dbpage=page&GID=00006000001051840432256837&PG=00006000001051840432572084
i5 http://forums.allaboutjazz.com/showthread.php?t=14309&page=2
i6 http://www.thejazzgazette.be/march2004.htm
i7 http://www.arhoolie.com/titles/7032c.shtml
i8 http://www.thejazzgazette.be/june2004.htm
i9 www.magnoliajazzband.com/images/barbarin_web.jpg
i10 http://www.thejazzgazette.be/june2002issue.htm