COURTESY DANA BARCELONA-BONNER
Hawaii-born Danny Barcelona was introduced to Louis Armstrong in 1956 by good friend Trummy Young. Barcelona became Armstrong's drummer for the next 15 years. CLICK FOR LARGE
Jazz drummer played with Louis Armstrong
Danny Barcelona / 1929-2007
Hawaii-born Danny Barcelona, the drummer with Louis Armstrong's All-Stars band, died Sunday due to complications from cancer in his adopted home of Monterey Park, Calif. He was 77.
Born in Waipahu, Barcelona had his own sextet, the Hawaiian Dixieland All-Stars, when he was in his early 20s. The band toured the islands and Japan. (His musical contemporaries include Gabe Baltazar and Frank and Bobby Kamano.)
In 1956 his good friend Trummy Young, who was playing trombone and singing with Armstrong, introduced the 27-year-old Barcelona to the jazz great, his daughter Dana Barcelona-Bonner said.
Armstrong promptly invited Barcelona to join his All-Stars, and for the next 15 years, Barcelona traveled the world with the band, even behind the Iron Curtain. Highlights of his career included an African tour in the 1960s during which Barcelona amazed Rhodesian drum masters with his rhythmic skills, as well as playing for more than 130 recording sessions and soundtracks, including Armstrong's hit singles "Hello Dolly" and "It's a Wonderful World."
Referred to affectionately as "the little Hawaiian boy" by Armstrong, Barcelona remained a member of Armstrong's group until it disbanded in 1971, after Armstrong's death on July 3.
Barcelona-Bonner said her father returned to Hawaii and was active in the Honolulu music scene, becoming a fixture onstage at the Hilton Hawaiian Village for several years, playing with good friends Bernie Halmann and Melveen Leed. He also worked for many years at Harry's Music Store and the Easy Music Center.
Barcelona and his wife, Dee, moved to Monterey Park in 1979, where they lived until his death Sunday.
He is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, daughters Dana Barcelona-Bonner and Jodi Barcelona, brother Jose ("Sonny") Barcelona, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Services are pending. E-mail Dana Barcelona-Bonner at firstname.lastname@example.org.