Christian, Emile (Joseph; aka “Boot-mouth”)

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Christian, Emile (Joseph; aka “Boot-mouth”)

Christian, Emile (Joseph; aka “Boot-mouth”), jazz trombonist, bassist, slide cornet, clarinet; b. New Orleans, La., April 20, 1895; d. there, Dec. 3, 1973. He came from a musical family; his brother Frank Joseph (b. New Orleans, Sept 3, 1897; d. there, Nov. 27, 1973) played cornet, and another brother, Charles, was also a musician. Emile began on cornet (taught by his brother, Frank) and by 1912 was playing in Ernest Giardinai Band. He played with brothers Charles and Frank in groups led by Papa Jack and Alfred Laine, and in Fischer’s Brass Band (c. 1915), then again with Frank. He then worked with Merritt Brunies in 1916 in both New Orleans and Chicago. In 1916, he was offered the job as cornetist with Johnny Stein’s Band for a residency in 1ajago, but he declined and Nick LaRocca took the job. He went to Chicago the following year to join Bert Kelly’s Band; later that year he re-joined Brunies, who was now leading the Original New Orleans Jazz Band in Chicago. He joined the Original Dixieland Jazz Band in N.Y. in 1918 (Eddie Edwards having joined the U.S. Army). He played in England with the O.D.J.B, 1919–21, returned to N.Y., did three weeks with Phil Napoleon in the Original Memphis Five, then returned to England with the American (and Broadway) Sextets (1922–23). From 1924, he doubled on trombone and string bass with various bands in Europe: with Eric Borchard in Berlin (1924), with Tommy Waltham’s Ad Libs, Al Wynn’s Band in Berlin and Hanover (c. 1928), Leslie Sterling in Paris, etc. (c. 1928–30). He was mainly with Lud Gluskin’s Band (1930–34), then in Switzerland with Benton Peyton’s Jazz Kings (spring 1935). He was with Benny French in Paris (1936), then went to the Taj Mahal Hotel, Bombay, India, with Leon Abbey (November 1936). He was with Abbey in France, Denmark, etc. (1937–39), and returned to U.S. in October 1939. He played trombone and bass at Monte Carlo Club, N.Y., in 1940, then worked in a defense plant during WWII. He moved back to New Orleans in the 1940s and was active on string bass and trombone during the 1950s and 1960s with Armand Hug, George Girard, Leon Prima, Sharkey Bonano, etc., and toured with Louis Prima in 1957. He was featured at Disneyland Jazz Festival (1967), and the New Orleans Jazz Festivals in 1968 and 1969.


Emile Christian and his New Orleans Jazz Band (1958).

—John Chilton, Who’s Who of Jazz/Lewis Porter

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Christian, Emile (Joseph; aka “Boot-mouth”)

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