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Dejan's Olympia Brass Band

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  • Born: New Orleans, LA
  • Died: New Orleans, LA
  • Years Active: 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Founded by saxophonist Harold Dejan in 1958, the Olympia Brass Band has continued to satisfy New Orleans audiences at funerals, Mardi Gras parades, and concerts in the French Market (as well as sundry other occasions), making it one of the most enduring of all such units. In most instances, it relies on a typical instrumentation of approximately a dozen pieces: three trumpets (usually one lead, with the others alternating on melody), two trombones (which may also double), two saxophones (sometimes clarinet), tuba, snare, and bass drum. Featured musicians over the years have included trumpeters George "Kid Sheik" Colar, Andy Anderson, and Milton Batiste; trombonists Paul Crawford and Gerald Joseph; Dejan and Emanuel Paul on saxophones; Andrew Jefferson on snare, and bass drummers Henry "Booker" Glass and his son, "Papa." The Olympia has made trips to Europe on several occasions and appeared in the James Bond movie, Live and Let Die. In comparison to more recent brass bands like the Dirty Dozen, Dejan's Olympia maintained "traditional" repertoire consisting of hymns, marches, and New Orleans-style jazz standards. Dejan suffered a stroke in 1991, which left him unable to play the saxophone, but still able to sing. He died on July 5, 2002 in New Orleans.