Clive Wilson: 504-258-7716
Taking its name from a steam paddle wheeler that, in a bygone era, ran excursions across Lake Ponchartrain from Milneburg to Mandeville, the Original Camellia Jazz Band has become one of the most musically consistent and visible bands in New Orleans today.
A working unit, they are equally happy to play for a Sunday Brunch, a convention party, a dinner dance or wedding reception. Every engagement shows off their versatility nicely with a wide spectrum of tunes – from traditional jazz classics like Tiger Rag and Basin Street Blues, to great standards of the 30s and 40s such as ‘S Wonderful and Stardust.
The Camellia can perform in the full six or seven-piece format, or as the Camellia Trio or Quartet for more relaxed, soft jazz. The smaller format works well also as a strolling group or mini-parade band.
New Orleans! A city of traditions – in architecture, cuisine and, of course, music. A city that demands “music for all occasions,” the Camellia will make your event one to remember with a sound that speaks for itself.
“This is New Orleans!”
“This group reminds me of the good old days when you could hear the bands of Paul Barbarin, Louis Cottrell and Papa French on a nightly basis. That the Camellia stems from this tradition is obvious, but it also has to be said that since its formation in 1979 the band quickly found a personality of its own. There is a cohesive ensemble balance and a strong rhythmic swing that, to me, is what New Orleans jazz is all about.”
Curator, New Orleans Jazz Museum
Author, In Search of Buddy Bolden
“This is lyrical New Orleans jazz… the treatment of the tunes is loving and fresh. They give the old a new and entirely welcome polish.”
Over forty years ago when Clive first arrived in New Orleans from Britain, he was invited to sit in, and then to play on a regular basis with the traditional brass bands of the city.
“Many of the parades were long, all-day affairs back then,” he says, ” and some of the older men were happy to see a younger man carry the load.”
Dick Allen, retired curator of the Hogan Jazz Archives at Tulane University, explains: “There was a network in those years. The musicians knew each other, the fans knew each other, and the fans knew the musicians. It was a big family!”
So it was natural for those who were learning New Orleans Jazz to “cut their teeth” with their friends in the old established brass bands. The experience provided a fast learning curve.
Today, Clive continues the traditional “second-line” parade style with the Camellia Brass Band. They play for convention openings, escort or wedding parades and, in a smaller format, as a strolling group for just about any event.
A joyful sound with a foot-tapping beat!
“Clive Wilson’s Camellia Brass Band played the repertoire with great zest and flair . . . one of the most refreshing brass bands to emerge from New Orleans for many years.”
New Orleans Music