Honoré Dutrey (1894-1937)

Honoré Dutrey
Honoré Dutrey

Honoré Dutrey was born in New Orleans and started his playing career with the Melrose Brass Band at the age of seventeen. He later worked with his brother Sam in the Silver Leaf Orchestra and in 1913 joined the Noone-Petit Orchestra. In 1917 he joined the Navy and his lungs were damaged in an accident that left him with asthma. Accounts of Dutrey’s playing are varied; Ted Gioia described Dutrey’s melody playing as “uninspired” 1 while Rex Harris said “…whilst Dutrey’s trombone plays the third bass part by means of wonderfully conceived glissandi.”2 Yet another account states that Dutrey was a lesser member of groups he worked with, but then praises him for his use of rhythm in creating Tango-Charleston effects.3 It appears that Dutrey was an excellent ensemble player, but not an outstanding soloist. This conforms to the style during this period, where the ensemble was more crucial than individual solos; hence, ensemble playing was more important and the solos secondary. But his major contribution to jazz and the trombone during his life was his performances with Joe “King” Oliver and his Creole Jazz Band. While playing with Oliver, Dutrey was one of the first trombonists to leave New Orleans, and first headed out to California. After a brief stay in California, Oliver moved to the booming jazz city of Chicago, with Dutrey as his trombonists. Dutrey stayed in Chicago, and along with Eddie Vinson, became one of the more popular trombonists of the time.

  1. Ted Gioia, The History of Jazz (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997) 51.
  2. Rex Harris, Jazz Revised Edition (London: Penguin Books, 1953), 106.
  3. Martin Willians, The Jazz Tradition Second Revised Edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 9-11.