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Alton Purnell

Alton Purnell will be best-known as an associate of George Lewis’ Ragtime Music group, providing memorable introductions, fundamental but swinging solos and sound function in the ensembles. Purnell worked well as a vocalist before learning to be a professional pianist in his indigenous New Orleans in 1928 and through the following 10 years he used Isaiah Morgan, Alphonse Picou, “Big Vision” Louis Nelson, Sidney Desvigne’s big music group and Cousin Joe among numerous others. Although certainly unable to participate a brass music group, Purnell played pretty continuously in New Orleans, gigging at regional night clubs and cabarets. He became section of Bunk Johnson’s group in 1945 where he fulfilled up with George Lewis. After Bunk split up the music group in 1946, Purnell came back to New Orleans but he quickly was a significant section of Lewis’ group. Within the 1950’s he toured the entire world with Lewis and made an appearance on many recordings like the definitive edition of “The Saints.” In 1957 Purnell relocated to LA where he used Teddy Buckner, the ironically entitled TEENAGERS From New Orleans, Joe Darensbourg, Child Ory, Barney Bigard and Ben Pollack. Within the 1960’s Purnell frequently toured like a visitor soloist and later on in the 10 years he was an associate from the Legends Of Jazz. His last twenty years had been mainly spent with pickup rings where his likable and joyous design was always pleasant. As a head, Alton Purnell documented for Warner Bros. (1958), 77, Dixie, the Danish CSA label, the French Pragmaphone label, Alligator Jazz and GHB.

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