Mr. Darryl Adams
"When I started the Tornado Brass Band, we were oddballs because we did stuff that wasn't traditional, squeezing R&B licks into the music, but I never forgot what the old men used to say, and it's true to this day: If you don't learn the traditional music, you won't know where to go. You'll only be guessing. That's why it's always been my dream to play with the Preservation Hall band; through everything I ever did, that was always in the back of my mind."
- Darryl Adams
Alto saxophonist Darryl “Little Jazz” Adams started playing music when he was six years old. At school, he performed in concert and symphony bands, and on the weekends, in dance combos. His mentors were Danny Barker in the Fairview Baptist Church Band and alto saxophonist Harold Dejan, leader of the Olympia Brass Band, who took Adams under his wing when he was sixteen. He also played rhythm and blues in the Fabulous Phantoms, which opened for the Meters, and many other groups. In 1975 Adams composed “Blackbird Special,” a song that pioneered a new sound popular with younger brass band fans by fusing jazz, funk, and brass band styles. Adams also wrote “Tornado Special” and “Hot Dog Man.” A lover of tradition and the leader of the Tornado Brass Band, Adams says when you’re in a second line, you have to watch the people: “If you’re just playing, you’ll never learn.”
Photo courtesy of Shannon Brinkman.
Excerpted from “Preservation Hall: Portraits By Shannon Brinkman and Interviews by Eve Abrams” (LSU Press)
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