3 June 2013


I received some very sad news. Lionel Ferbos died on 19 July 2014 - just a few days after his 103rd birthday.

I had written the following only a few hours earlier.
The first band to perform in April last year at the Jazz Festival in New Orleans was that of Lionel Ferbos.

What was special about that? Let me tell you.


Here he is at the festival.

Last time I was in New Orleans (1998), I spent an evening at the Palm Court Café listening to jazz played by Lionel Ferbos and his Band. I do not remember who his band members were, except that they definitely included the late Les Muscott on banjo and the late Pud Brown on reeds. Even though Lionel was 87 years old, he still played well - keeping the music simple but melodic. And he also sang. It was a lovely band, playing traditional jazz in a gentle, acoustic style.

Lionel was one of those who in the mid-1930s was signed up into the Works Progress Administration Band of New Orleans to get people back to work after the Great Depression. Here's what the band looked like.
Lionel is in the row of cornets on the right. That was 79 YEARS AGO!

Isn't it wonderful that he is still active? He is now 103!

Here he is again (photographed at the age of only 99):
Lionel said at his 100th birthday party at the Palm Court Café (when he was as usual leading the band): 'It's the same music. We're still playing the same numbers we played 80 years ago.'

At the end of the party, a well-wisher said to him: 'Hope to make it next year'. Lionel replied: 'Me too!'