Remembering Lucien Barbarin

July 17, 1956 – January 30, 2020


A tribute to the beloved New Orleans trombonist

Trombonist Lucien Barbarin passed away on Jan. 30, 2020 in New Orleans at the age of 63 from prostate cancer.

Barbarin was born on July 17, 1956 and grew up surrounded by New Orleans jazz.

When he was six, he played drums with the Onward Brass Band, the group led by his great uncle the great drummer Paul Barbarin.

Barbarin played drums until he switched to baritone horn and tuba in the fourth grade, and permanently to trombone in high school.

He worked with his second cousin banjoist Danny Barker in the Fairview Baptist Church Brass Band in 1970 and in 1974 with the Hurricane Brass Band before he started leading his own group on Bourbon Street.

In addition to freelancing in New Orleans, he worked with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and most notably with Harry Connick Jr. (1990-2019) where he was well featured during each concert’s New Orleans jazz section.

Barbarin was on more than a dozen of Connick’s recordings, in two Broadway shows, and on several world tours.

Barbarin also recorded with Wynton Marsalis, Doc Cheatham, Kermit Ruffins, Dr. Michael White, and Leroy Jones, led three albums of his own, and appeared in the 2019 movie Bolden.

Lucien Barbarin is featured on a spirited version of the 1920s New Orleans piece “Bogalusa Strut” at a Barcelona concert from April 2019.

-Scott Yanow

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