Hypolite Charles
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* Apr 18 1891 Parks, La or St. Martinville La.16
Nov 29 1989

As a brass band musician he played with: Excelsior, Tuxedo, Brass Band

He played with Manuel Perez (1909), Silver Leaf orchestra (1911) and the Tuxedo Brass band, before WW I. In 1919 he started his own band (the Maple Leaf Band). He was active until illness forced retirement from music in 1925.16

In addition to civic and social activities, the Autocrat Club continuously hosted professional jazz musicians who played for balls and dances. One such musician was the great trumpet player Hypolite Charles, whose Maple Leaf Band was named after composer Scott Joplin’s hit “Maple Leaf Rag.” Charles had a contract with the Autocrat Club during the 1920s.
Jobs paid $3.50 per night for each musician, and according to recorded interviews with band member Eddie Dawson, “the band made lots of money.” The band also played the New Orleans Country Club, San Jacinto Hall, and most of the Creole balls.
The Maple Leaf Band included Camilla Todd playing piano, with Sonny Henry on trombone, Emile Bigard on violin, Joe Welch on drums, Lorenzo Tio, Jr., on sax and clarinet, and Albert Glenny on bass. Eddie Dawson also played tenor banjo and bass. Prior to 1910, bass players commonly played with a bow. It was around that time when Dawson became the first musician noted for plucking the strings.i1

'My band went into the Moulin Rouge which was opened by an ex-waiter at Tranchina's. I had the following musicians in my band who came from the Maple Leaf Band, Camilla Todd, Sam Dutrey and Henry Martin who had switched from drums to banjo. I added Sonny Henry on trombone and later Albert Glenny on string bass. Joe Welch was the drummer with the band. Red Dugas was the original drummer with my band, but some of the other members criticised his playing so much that he quit and so Welch came in. My band was also the first band to broadcast on the radio, WSMB, from New Orleans.
When Piron took his band to New York, we had been playing the dinner dances at the New Orleans Country Club and I took over the afternoon tea, although the people there insisted on strings only. I played a number, 'The Rosary', very softly on my cornet with Camilla 'Chick' Todd accompanying. After the number, the people seemed to go wild. We played at the New Orleans Country Club until my health forced me to quit playing altogether. The people who were attending these afternoon teas were old and very rich.' (Hypolite Charles Tulane interview)

Sources (internet):
i1 http://host1.bondware.com/~Louisiana_Weekly/news.php?viewStory=408

Sources (brassband history):
New Orleans Jazz, family album by Al Rose and Edmond Souchon

Last updated: 05-10-2012