The Little Hawaiian "Drummer" Boy
|Born||July 23, 1929|
|Died||April 1, 2007 (aged 77)|
Danny Barcelona (July 23, 1929 - April 1, 2007) was an international jazz-band drummer for Louis Armstrong's All-Stars band. He was a Filipino-American born in Waipahu a community of sugar cane plantation families East of Honolulu, Hawaii. He was also frequently introduced to audiences by Louis Armstrong as the The Little Hawaiian Boy.
At the age of 18 and in his final year in high school, Barcelona was already playing music with trombonist, singer, and bandleader Trummy Young. Barcelona was a self-taught percussionist. Young and Barcelona met in the mid-1940s. Danny Barcelona was later introduced to Louis Armstrong in 1956 by Young. Barcelona became Armstrong's drummer for 15 years. A native Hawaiian, Barcelona joined Young's Hawaii All-Stars in the early 1950s, and then later assumed leadership of the said band - a sextet known as the Hawaiian Dixieland All-Stars - when Young himself left to join Louis Armstrong’s combo in 1952. Barcelona toured around the Hawaiian Islands, Japan and the rest of the Far East. In the fall of 1957, Barcelona moved to New York City. Barcelona, again through Trummy Young's recommendation, formally joined Armstrong's All-Stars band in February 1958 to replace retiring drummer Barrett Deems and to record jazz music with Armstrong for more than 130 times. Barcelona was only 27 years old when he was introduced by Young to Armstrong. Barcelona's recording career with Armstrong included the jazz music hits "Hello, Dolly!" (1968) and "What a Wonderful World". With Armstrong and Young, Barcelona, traveled the world which included trips to Denmark, Germany and Rhodesia, Africa. Barcelona was described by T. Dennis Brown in The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz as a drummer "characterized by extensive use of the ride cymbal, crisp, clean fills and breaks, and solos that exploit asymmetrical phrasing". After Armstrong's illness in 1971 and his death on July 6 of the same year, Barcelona returned to Hawaii and became a permanent performer at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel to play with Bernie Halmann and Melveen Leed. He also worked for many years at Harry's Music Store and the Easy Music Center. In 1979, Barcelona returned to the mainland and settled with his family in Monterey Park, California.  
Barcelona died at Monterey Park on Sunday, April 1, 2007, due to complications from cancer at the age of 77. He was survived by his wife Dee Barcelona; by his two daughters, Dana Barcelona-Bonner and Jodi Barcelona; by his brother, Jose "Sonny" Barcelona, five grandchildren, and one great grandchild. Barcelona's wife, Dee Barcelona, was once a member of the Morgan Sisters singing trio. Danny Barcelona and Dee Thrasher met while the latter was performing with her two sisters at the Waikiki Hotel. Barcelona's contemporary players in the jazz music industry at the time were Gabe Baltazar, Frank Kamano and Bobby Kamano.