Placide A. Adams Jr., a string bass player, drummer and vocalist who was one of the stalwarts of traditional New Orleans jazz, died March 29 of heart failure at his home. He was 73.
A lifelong resident of New Orleans, Adams was a member of a musical family that includes his brother Jerry, also a bass player. His mother, Dolly Douroux, led a family band that Adams joined as a drummer when he was 13. Another brother Justin, now deceased, played banjo and guitar.
Adams played rhythm and blues in the 1950s with such recording stars as Clyde McPhatter, Ruth Brown, Roy Brown, B.B. King and Big Joe Turner. He turned to traditional jazz in the 1960s after he became one of the first musicians to play at the startup of Preservation Hall.
He was also a member of the Alvin Alcorn combo hired at Commander’s Palace restaurant to play the city’s first jazz brunches. For the last 14 years Adams led the Placide Adams Dixieland Jazz Band for brunch at the Hilton Hotel.
Adams played with traditional jazz bands led by Papa Celestine, Louis Cottrell, Paul Barbarin, Kid Howard, and Sweet Emma Barrett. He also recorded with many of them. In 1964, he toured Japan with George Lewis and also performed in Europe. He played Carnegie Hall in 1976 with Al Hirt and with the Onward Brass Band. In recent years, his band paraded with Pete Fountain’s Half-Fast Walking Club on Mardi Gras.
He continued performing until recently and his Onward Brass Band was booked to play the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival later in April.
Survivors include his wife Lois and three brothers, Jerry, Calvin and Carl Adams.