Larry Shields

Larry Shields

Lawrence James "Larry" Shields (September 13, 1893 - November 21, 1953) was an early American dixieland jazz clarinetist.

Shields was born in Uptown New Orleans, on the same block where jazz pioneer Buddy Bolden lived. Shields' family were musical; his brothers Harry, Pat (guitar), and Eddie (piano) all played music professionally.

Shields started playing clarinet when he was 14 and 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 briefly in some Hollywood films.

In the 1930s Shields returned to Chicago and joined the reformed Original Dixieland Jazz Band. He then worked for a while at "Nick's" in New York before returning to play in New Orleans and later in California. He died in Los Angeles.

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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