Media Contacts:

Lauren Noel, The Historic New Orleans Collection
(504) 556-7655 |

Sarah Chambless Federer, Gambel Communications
(985) 373-5271 |

October 19, 2016 | New Orleans, Louisiana -The Historic New Orleans Collection will bring jazz legend Danny Barker's autobiography, "A Life in Jazz," back into print with the release of a new illustrated and expanded edition, available on Dec. 1, 2016.

Storyteller, researcher, songwriter, performer and mentor, Barker was a true griot-a beloved elder statesman of New Orleans music and an international representative of jazz and African American culture. Over the course of his 60-year career, he appeared on more than a thousand recordings, played with greats like Jelly Roll Morton and Cab Calloway, and penned dozens of original songs. His biggest hit, the sly "Don't You Make Me High [Don't You Feel My Leg]," sung by his wife, Blue Lu Barker, is still a regular on the airwaves.

More than a musician, Barker became a guardian of jazz's history. He spent decades researching and writing the intertwined stories of his life and jazz, recorded classic Mardi Gras Indian songs and chants like "My Indian Red," "Corinne Died on the Battlefield" and "Chocko Mo Feendo Hey," and mentored a burgeoning class of New Orleans musicians through the Fairview Baptist Church Christian Band, including Shannon Powell, Leroy Jones, Herlin Riley and more.

"A Life in Jazz"-first published in 1986 and edited by Alyn Shipton, a music historian and jazz program host on BBC Radio-captures the breadth of Barker's knowledge of music and the scope of his vision as a storyteller. His carefully crafted set pieces range from hilarious to harrowing, and his writing style is much like his music-wry and swinging.

The new edition features an introduction by Gwen Thompkins, former NPR reporter and now host of public radio's Music Inside Out, as well as more than 100 images, a complete discography and a never-before-published song catalog. Through his struggles, triumphs, escapades and musings, Barker's autobiography reflects the freedom, complexity, and beauty of this thoroughly American, black music tradition.

"Danny and Blue Lu Barker's tiny house was crammed with pictures and memorabilia," said Shipton. "Much of that collection was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina, but for me, opening this beautifully illustrated new edition for the first time was a truly joyous experience-almost like being given a personal tour of Danny's wonderful hoard of pictures and photos to enrich the vivid storytelling of his prose."

"A Life in Jazz" is the third volume in THNOC's Louisiana Musicians Biography Series, following "Unfinished Blues: Memories of a New Orleans Music Man" (2010) by Harold Battiste Jr. with Karen Celestan and "Ernie K-Doe: The R&B Emperor of New Orleans" (2012) by Ben Sandmel.


About The Historic New Orleans Collection
Founded in 1966, The Historic New Orleans Collection is a museum, research center and publisher dedicated to the study and preservation of the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. For more information, visit or call (504) 523-4662.