Unfortunately, Barnes and his band were the subject of one of the most tragic episodes in the history of jazz.
Walter Barnes (July 8, 1905 in Vicksburg, Mississippi – April 23, 1940 in Natchez, Mississippi) was an American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist and bandleader.
Barnes grew up in Chicago and studied under Franz Schoepp in addition to attending the Chicago Musical College and the American Conservatory of Music. He led his own bands from the early 1920s in addition to playing with Detroit Shannon and his Royal Creolians. After Shannon's retinue became dissatisfied with his leadership, Barnes took control of this group as well. He played mostly in Chicago, though the band did hold a residency at the Savoy Ballroom in New York City as well. His band recorded in 1928-29 for Brunswick Records. He toured the American South in the 1930s to considerable success, touring there yearly; by 1938 his ensemble included 16 members.
Was just informed about a documentary on this very subject.
Walter Barnes ts, dir / Cicero Thomas, George Thigpen t / Ed Burke, William 'Bullet' Bradley tb / Irby Gage, Wilson Underwood cl, ss / Lucius Wilson ts / Paul Johnson p / Plunker Hall bj / Louis Thompson bb / Billy Winston d.
Recorded in Chicago on December 14, 1928.