Narvin Kimball, the Dean of Dixieland Jazz

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Narvin Kimball died this week at 96. He was the last founding member of The New Orleans Preservation Hall Jazz Band.


He made his first banjo out of a cigar box, a stick and some string. Today we play his music in remembrance.

(Soundbite of music)

ELLIOTT: Narvin Kimball, the last founding member of the New Orleans Preservation Hall Jazz Band, died yesterday at age 97.

(Soundbite of song)

Mr. NARVIN KIMBALL (Musician): (Singing) I ain't got nobody and there's nobody, nobody cares for me.

ELLIOTT: He was known for his vocals and for the way he worked that banjo. His professional career began in the 1920's playing on Mississippi riverboats. He formed his own band, Narvin Kimball's Gentlemen of Jazz, and he eventually found his way to the steps of Preservation Hall.

(Soundbite of song)

Mr. KIMBALL: (Singing) Please take a dance with me.

ELLIOTT: For more than 40 years, the musicians of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band have served as ambassadors and guardians of New Orleans jazz.

(Soundbite of song)

Mr. KIMBALL: (Singing) Please, please, my baby, won't you be mine. Now, I ain't got nobody and there's nobody, nobody cares for me.

ELLIOTT: Narvin Kimball did have somebody to care for him in the end. He died at his daughter's home in South Carolina where he and his wife have been living since Hurricane Katrina.

(Soundbite of song)

Mr. KIMBALL: (Singing) I sing a sweet love song all the time. Please, please, my baby, won't you be mine. Now I ain't got nobody...

ELLIOTT: That's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Debbie Elliott.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from