Raymond Burke

Raymond Burke had a long career and was considered a reliable player in his native New Orleans where he spent virtually his entire career except for a brief period in the late 1930s when he was in Kansas City. Although three of his uncles played music, Burke was entirely self-taught. He became a professional musician around 1920 and played with Blind Gilbert's band in the mid-'20s and Henry Walde's Melon Pickers the following decade. Among his many musical associations during the following decades were Sharkey Bonano, Johnny Wiggs, George Hartman, Wooden Joe Nicholas, the Dukes of Dixieland, George Girard, Johnny St. Cyr, Punch Miller, and Kid Thomas Valentine. Burke, who frequently led his own bands, was a fixture at Preservation Hall after it opened in 1960, and remained active (and a local legend) into the mid-'80s. Raymond Burke recorded some isolated titles early on (including "Solitude" in 1937) and led albums for NOR (1949), Paramount (1952), Southland (1953 & 1960), Land O' Jazz (1975), 504 (1979), and Smoky Mary (1983). Among his sidemen on those recordings were Wooden Joe Nicholas, Johnny St. Cyr, Johnny Wiggs, Alvin Alcorn, Thomas Jefferson, and Butch Thompson. ~ Scott Yanow

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