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In Memoriam: Scotty Cathcart Hill (1947-2018)

A lot of people don’t realize that Scotty was an individual that made it possible for everybody to play on the streets,” says trumpeter Gregg Stafford, who began performing with Hill around 1975. “His band was the first band out on the streets of New Orleans,” Stafford continues, as he remembers what a struggle it was for Hill to stand up against complaints from shop owners and harassment by the police to keep his group playing outdoors in the French Quarter. “Many a time we had to go to court, we were issued a summons, arrested and went to jail.”

Hill’s French Market Jazz Band’s spot was on the corner of Royal and St. Peter streets and, according to Stafford, most of the musicians who worked regular gigs on Bourbon Street in the early 1980s would join the group on their days off. “We were making more money in two hours on the street than they’d make in six hours in a club. We were the only band on the street.”