Greenisland bassist tells of New Orleans and all that jazz

A Greenisland double bass player recalled his experiences of New Orleans jazz music in the Larne Times in January 1961.

Bill McLetrie had left his Glenfield home, three years previously, to pursue his career.

Bill had played bass for the White Eagles Jazz Band and Crescent City.

His first stop in the United States was Crescent City in New Orleans where he played with several bands and became a “good friend” of veteran clarinet player George Lewis.

Another pastime in the city, he said, was attending funerals.

“A brass band still plays a part to and from the graveyard,” he commented.

However, he acknowledged that many young people in the district were turning to rock ‘n’ roll.

Bill proceeded on his travels to Fiji, New Zealand and Cook Island before travelling to Tahiti and the South Sea Islands where he joined the crew of a millionaire’s yacht and sailing back to New Orleans.

Back home, a group of new mothers was left in the cold in the search for warmer premises to hold the Greenisland baby clinic.