This is what I knew about the hot New Orleans trumpeter George Girard, born in 1930.
Girard died far too young (in 1957) of cancer.
He studied music with one of my heroes, Johnny Wiggs, and went on to a professional career early — at 16.
His band, the Basin Street Six, included a young Pete Fountain, made records, and was captured on local television (although no videos have yet made their way to YouTube). Later, his own band, George Girard and the New Orleans Five, had a residency at the Famous Door, but he became ill and died all too soon. His music can be heard on several compact discs — the most intriguing of which pairs him with a young Rosemary Clooney:
Then I received this email:
Dear Mr Steinman,
I am a relative of the late George Girard, a gifted trumpeter from New Orleans, during the early 50′s. My mother & father were Doris & Lloyd Girard and grandmother & grandfather were Sadie & Louis Girard. I was born in Metarie Parish in New Orleans in 1954, and Uncle George did visit and hold me before I was 3 years old.
For the last 3 years, I have devoted much time to the study of jazz guitar in college, studying theory, applied lessons, jaz history classes, etc.. During my current research, your name has been listed as being related somehow, to Uncle George.
The reason I am contacting you is because I’d like to gather as much information, photos, and contacts, of his, that still may be alive. I don’t wish to disturb any that may have known him, and wondered if you might be able to steer me in the right direction. My goal is to gather a history of my Uncle George for my own personal use and for no monetary gain or otherwise. It’s just so cool to have a relative that loved jazz as much as I do now, and it’s important for me to have a better history of my musical family.
Thank you for your time, and I look forward to your reply.
Dan’s an excellent jazz guitarist; he lives in Portland, Maine, and his email is email@example.com. Both he and I would be grateful for any leads in his search for more information about Uncle George.