Cornet, Musical Artist
1900 – 1939
Who was Tommy Ladnier?
Ladnier was born in Mandeville, Louisiana across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans. He played in the local Independence Band led by clarinetist Isidore Fritz from c. 1914. Trumpeter Bunk Johnson sometimes also played with this band and gave young Ladnier tuition. In 1917, he moved with his mother to Chicago. At first he, like many Southerners coming to Chicago, worked at the Chicago Stock Yards. He married Hazel B “Daisy” Mathews in 1920 and became a professional musician around 1921. He played for some time in St. Louis with Charlie Creath.
From 1923, he played in Chicago and made numerous recordings for Paramount Records with pianist Lovie Austin, accompanying blues singers like Ma Rainey, Ida Cox, and Alberta Hunter. In 1923, his beloved mother was accidentally shot in at a party quarrel. This took him deeply and the incident is generally considered as the cause of his alcoholic abuse. For some time Ladnier played with his great inspiration King Oliver.
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