Piron, A(rmand) J(ohn)

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Piron, A(rmand) J(ohn)

Piron, A(rmand) J(ohn), early jazz violinist, composer; b. New Orleans, La., Aug. 16, 1888; d. there, Feb. 17, 1943. He received a musical tuition from his father, who was an orchestra leader, and began playing professionally in 1904. He first led his own band in 1908, worked in the Peerless Orch. (c. 1912), fronted the Olympia Orch. from 1912. He partnered Clarence Williams in a publishing company, and did promotional tours with Williams, including appearances with W. C. Handy’s Orch. (c. 1917). He began working in New Orleans with Papa Celestin (c. 1916). He led his own band from 1918, which played mainly in New Orleans. The band played briefly in N.Y. in 1923 and 1924; during the band’s N.Y. bookings, publicity photographs were taken billing them as Williams’s Ten Jazz Kings. Piron died in the Charity Hospital, New Orleans. His song, “I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate,” has enjoyed several periods of popularity over the decades. Woody Allen borrowed his tune, “The Purple Rose of Cairo,” for the title of one of his comedies.


Piron’s New Orleans Orchestra (1923).

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