Papa Jack Laine

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George Vital "Papa Jack" Laine (September 21, 1873 – June 1, 1966) was the most busy and perhaps the most important band leader in New Orleans in the years from the Spanish-American War to World War I.

Many of the New Orleans musicians who first spread jazz around the United States in the 1910s and 1920s got their start in the Laine bands. Laine was a drummer, but was more noted for his skills at arranging and booking bands. Laine's musicians included individuals from most of New Orleans' many ethnic groups—African American, English, French, German, Italian, Jewish, Latin American, Scottish etc. Laine started leading bands before the Jim Crow codes went into effect in New Orleans.[citation needed]

Even after segregation laws started demanding "whites" and "colored" be kept separate, Laine continued to hire light- and medium light-skinned African-American musicians, claiming that they were "Cuban" or "Mexican" if any segregationist tried to start trouble. Hence some musicians who played with black bands like those of Buddy Bolden and Joe "King" Oliver also played with Laine. Thus there was a wide cross-fertilization of musical ideas in the Laine organization.[citation needed]

Laine retired from the music booking business by 1920, but he was interviewed a number of times, providing first hand accounts of the early days of the development of New Orleans jazz. He had hired well over 100 musicians to play in his bands, including the following:

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