I had heard the Creole clarinetist Barney Bigard on recordings for a long time before actually hearing him in person — at very close range — in 1972.  Although he played nothing I had not heard him play before, his sound: full, round, liquid, sweet — was a revelation and continues to echo in my mind’s ear, as identifiable as any human voice. 

Here is the man himself: date and place unknown, but apparently in mid-career, and wishing Francis all the best.  Can anyone skilled in the archaeology of men’s fashion offer some educated guesses?


  1. Judging from the lapels and the tie, maybe about 1938? The ties and lapels got wider in the early ’40s…

  2. Searching the internet, I came across this photo which shows the fashion of the year 1930 http://adrianasassoon.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/grooms_attire_1920s.jpg?w=720 (even though the link states 1920s).

    Barney looks to be in his 30s here, or maybe late 20s. My guess is 1932-35. By 1936 the wider lapels, and double-breasted jackets were in fashion, and we know that many jazzers kept up with the latest clothing trend!

  3. Probably early 1940’s

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