Wellman Braud (January 25, 1891 – October 29, 1966) was a
Creole American jazz upright bassist. His family sometimes spelled their last
name "Breaux", pronounced "Bro".
Born in St. James Parish, Louisiana
Braud came to New Orleans
, in his
early teens. He was playing violin and the upright bass and leading a trio in
venues in the Storyville District before 1910. He moved to Chicago,
in 1917. In 1923 he went to London
with the Plantation Orchestra, in which he doubled on bass and trombone. Next
he moved to New York City
played with Wilber Sweatman's band before joining Duke Ellington. His vigorous
melodic bass playing, alternately plucking, slapping, and bowing, was an
important feature of the early Ellington Orchestra sound in the 1920s and
1930s. Braud's playing on Ellington's regular radio broadcasts and recordings
helped popularize the slap style of string bass playing, as well as encouraging
many dance bands of the time to switch from using a tuba to an Upright bass.
(Like many of his contemporary New Orleans
bassists, Braud doubled on tuba, and he recorded on that instrument on some
sides with Ellington.)
In 1936 Braud co-managed a short lived Harlem
club with Jimmie Noone, and recorded with the group Spirits of Rhythm from 1935
to 1937. He played with other New York
bands including those of Kaiser Marshall, Hot Lips Page, and Sidney Bechet, and
returned for a while to Ellington in 1944. In 1956 he joined the Kid Ory Band
with whom he stayed for years.
He is a distant relative of Branford Marsalis and Branford's
brothers through their mother's side.
Duke Ellington p, a, dir / Bubber Miley, Arthur Whetsel, Freddy Jenkins t / Joe Nanton tb / Johnny Hodges cl, as, ss / Otto Hardwick as, bar / Harry Carney cl, as, bar / Barney Bigard cl, ts / Fred Guy bj / Wellman Braud sb / Sonny Greer d / Ozzie McPherson (Ozie Ware) v.
Recorded in New York on November 15, 1928.