Carl Barriteau

(1914—1998) clarinettist and bandleader

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b. 7 February 1914, Trinidad, West Indies, d. 24 August 1998, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Raised in Venezuela, Barriteau learned music in the Belmont Orphanage Band and the Trinidad Constabulary Band, becoming proficient on clarinet and alto saxophone. He came to prominence in Britain as principal soloist and musical director for Ken ‘Snakehips’ Johnson, for whom he arranged ‘Exactly Like You’ (1938) and soloed on ‘Tuxedo Junction’ (1940). In 1941, he led one of two contingents at the First English Public Jam Session, where two highly influential couplings were recorded for HMV Records. Following the death of Johnson in an air raid on the Café de Paris Barriteau, who was injured but survived, led the band for a broadcast and live dates, while continuing to perform as a soloist and in the reed section of notable big bands such as those led by Ambrose, Geraldo, Joe Loss, Lew Stone and Eric Winstone. Finally he formed his own band in an attempt to recreate Johnson’s success but, with inadequate financial backing, was frequently forced to rely on pick-up personnel. For a while he maintained an all-white big band, and with them recorded ‘Ol’ Man Mose’ (1944), ‘A Sultan Goes To Harlem’ (1945) and, with Artie Shaw’s special permission, his virtuoso ‘Concerto For Clarinet’. A fluent soloist on his first instrument and also a warm saxophonist in the Johnny Hodges mould, Barriteau topped the Melody Maker clarinet poll for seven consecutive years from 1937 onwards. During the 60s he moved to Germany, and finally settled in Australia with his vocalist wife Mae Cooper in 1970.See also Ken 'Snakehips' Johnson, Ambrose, Geraldo, Joe Loss, Lew Stone, Eric Winstone, HMV Records, Artie Shaw, Johnny Hodges, Melody Maker.

From Encyclopedia of Popular Music in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Music.

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