Dressed in their navy blue T-shirts with their logo across the front, the Baby Boyz Brass Band was dwarfed.
It was playing the jazz funeral for the ’Aints, and it was loud enough to be heard despite the growing second line as it danced along North Rampart Street. Glen Hall III, the 16-year-old leader of the Baby Boyz, was the eye of the storm throughout. Hall was sponsored in the second line culture by his father, Glen Hall, Jr., who organized the Baby Boyz after bringing the family home after the flood.
Glen Hall III began playing at age six when his cousin Glen David Andrews gave him his first horn. Last summer, he joined Kermit Ruffins, James Andrews and Shamarr Allen in the trumpet jam session that caps off each year’s Satchmo SummerFest and more than held his own.
“He’s really good,” says James Andrews, whose son Jenard plays trombone with the Baby Boyz. “He knew what to do up there. That whole band is coming along real good.”
Hall also represents a new era of New Orleans trumpeters. Though he learned the ways of the second line from his elders in the old school style, Hall is also a student a NOCCA, where he is learning another discipline.
“The second-line parades are about playing in the streets,” he says. “You have to know your part and keep playing, and everything falls into place. At NOCCA, it’s more about single line improvisation, more like be-bop, jazz. I graduate in 2012 and plan to get a college degree before I pursue my career in music.”
Kermit Ruffins has known Hall all his life and has frequently called on him to perform. Hall says he hopes to also follow in the footsteps of another NOCCA graduate, Wynton Marsalis.
“I guess Wynton is (the goal), but I like to play like Kermit, too,” he says. “Really, I’d like to be a combination of all of them.”
When asked to name the New Orleans musician he most admires, Hall keeps it in the family. “It’s my cousin Troy, Trombone Shorty,” he says. “He’s the one who inspired me to do this.”