The Ernest "Punch" Miller Band, with Noon Johnson (bazooka), Punch Miller (trumpet), Harrison Verrett (banjo), Andrew Jefferson (drums), Emanuel Sayles (guitar), and Manuel Paul (clarinet and sax) performed at the Tudor Arms in Cleveland, Ohio. Learn more »
Andrew Jefferson was a highly sought-after New Orleans traditional jazz and brass band drummer and vocalist who performed at one time or another with nearly all of the brass bands in New Orleans. Remembered as a snare drum player in both the original and the revived Olympia Brass Band, the Kid Howard Brass Band, the Tuxedo Brass Band, the Young Tuxedo Brass Band, and the Eureka Brass Band, Jefferson also performed at New Orleans’s famed Preservation Hall alongside Peter Bocage.
Jefferson was born on November 24, 1912. He was the elder brother of Thomas Jefferson, who would become the well-known trumpeter/vocalist leader of Thomas Jefferson’s International New Orleans Jazz Band.
Jefferson began his public performance career playing drums for such barrelhouse pianists as Jimmy Carter and Stack O’Lee. A snare drummer in the original Olympia Brass Band’s later years, Jefferson formed his own brass band with Kid Clayton, and he became a regular member of the Tuxedo Brass Band and Young Tuxedo Brass Band, the Kid Howard Brass Band, the Eureka Brass Band, and, later on, the revived Olympia Brass Band, led by Harold Dejan. Jefferson performed many notable jazz funerals, including that of jazz clarinet/horn/saxophone player Adolphe Alexander Jr. Several photographs of Jefferson performing for Alexander’s jazz funeral survive in the Ralston Crawford photography archive at the Hogan Jazz Archive at Tulane University in New Orleans.
In the 1940s Jefferson’s own band, the Yo Yo Boys, performed with a number of greats, including Kid Rena. In the 1950s he performed often with the lauded multi-instrumentalist Peter Bocage at Mama Lou’s, a restaurant/dance hall located in Little Woods on Lake Pontchartrain in eastern New Orleans. After the opening of Preservation Hall in 1961, Jefferson could be found performing there frequently with Bocage and others.
In the late 1960s Jefferson’s friendship with trombonist Frank Naundorf led to a series of recordings made in Germany for the GHB label. They feature Naundorf and Jefferson alongside Emanuel Paul (tenor saxophone), Andy Anderson (trumpet), Peter Muller (clarinet), and Trevor Richards (drums).
Jefferson died in July 1985.
Cite This Entry
Chicago Manual of Style
Hobbs, Holly. "Andrew Jefferson." In KnowLA Encyclopedia of Louisiana, edited by David Johnson. Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 2010–. Article published December 12, 2013. http://www.knowla.org/entry/1530/&view=summary.
Hobbs, Holly. "Andrew Jefferson." KnowLA Encyclopedia of Louisiana. Ed. David Johnson. Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 12 Dec 2013. Web. 17 Jan. 2017.
Would you like to learn more about this topic from books and other reading materials?
Borenstein, Larry, and Bill Russell. Preservation Hall Portraits. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1968.
Knowles, Richard.Fallen Heroes: A History of New Orleans Brass Bands. New Orleans: Jazzology Press, 1996.
Martyn, Barry, Mick Burns, and Bruce Boyd Raeburn. Walking with Legends: Barry Martyn’s New Orleans Jazz Odyssey. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2007.
Schafer, William J. Brass Bands and New Orleans Jazz. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1977.
Smith, Michael Peter. New Orleans Jazz Fest: A Pictorial History. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing, 1991.
White, Michael. “The New Orleans Brass Band: A Cultural Tradition.” In The Triumph of the Soul: Cultural and Psychological Aspects of African American Music, ed. by Ferdinand Jones and Arthur C. Jones, 69–96. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2001.