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Larry Shields

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Lawrence J. "Larry" Shields (1893 - 1953) was an early jazz clarinetist.

Lawrence James Shields was born on September 13 1893 in Uptown New Orleans on the same block where jazz pioneer Buddy Bolden lived. Shields family were musical, and his brothers Harry Shields, Pat (guitar), and Eddie (piano) all played music professionally. Larry played with Papa Jack Laine's bands. He was one of the early New Orleans musicians to go to Chicago, first heading north in the summer of 1915 to join Bert Kelly[?]'s band, then with Tom Brown's band before joining the Original Dixieland Jass Band in November of 1916. The following year that band made the first jazz phonograph records, propelling Shield's playing to national prominence.

After leaving the Original Dixieland Jazz Band in 1921 he played with various bands in New York City (including briefly with Paul Whiteman) before moving to Los Angeles, California where he remained throughout the 1920s, leading his own band and appearing breifly in some Hollywood films.

In the 1930s Sheilds returned to Chicago, then joined the reformed Original Dixieland Jazz Band, then worked for a while at Nick's in New York, returned to play in New Orleans, then back to California. He died in Los Angeles on November 21, 1953.

His playing, especially on phonograph records, was an important influence on later jazz clarinetists, including Benny Goodman.

see also: Original Dixieland Jass Band



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