Wilbur De Paris

Wilbur DeParis was a competent soloist but he was also an outstanding ensemble player and a key bandleader that helped to keep New Orleans jazz alive during the 1950s. In 1922, he played the C-melody Saxophone while working with A.J. Piron, before switching to trombone permanently. DeParis started a band in Philadelphia in 1925. He then served as a conductor in various orchestras including those of Leroy Smith (1928), Dave Nelson (1928), Noble Sissle (1928), Edgar Hayes (1936-1937), Teddy Hill (1936-1937), and the Mills Blue Rhythm Band (1937-1940). Although not as well-known than his brother Sidney DeParis who was a talented trumpet soloist, Wilbur was in Roy Eldridge’s bigband and with Duke Ellington (1945-1947). He also recorded with Sidney Bechet between 1949 and 1950. He found his niche in 1951, when he formed a band to perform at Ryan’s with his brother Omer Simeon as clarinetist. Wilbur DeParis’ New New Orleans Jazz Band played more than Dixieland standards. They also performed marches, pop songs, and hymns that were transformed into swinging, spirited jazz. The group recorded a number of exciting sets for Atlantic throughout the 1950s (all of which are unfortunately out of print). They were also the resident band at Ryan’s from 1951-1962 and toured Africa in 1957. DeParis led bands until his death. His last recordings were made in 1961.

Leave a Comment