Cap’t John Handy was inducted into MS Coast Jazz Society's Hall of Fame in 2004.
Captain John Handy internationally famous alto sax player, Black jazz musician, composer, and recording artist was posthumously inducted into the Mississippi Coast Jazz Society’s Hall of Fame.
Born in 1900, he died in 1970 at his Pass Christian, Mississippi home. At his death, he was honored with two funerals, one in New Orleans, and one in Pass Christian where the first New Orleans style funeral procession on the Gulf Coast was held. More than 4,000 mourners and participants gathered to “send him home.”
The jazz great was even greater than he could imagine as he was eulogized in Life Magazine and a special television documentary was produced by TV Channel 13 called the "Last Journey of a Jazz Man."
During the 1930s to 1960s, his own band was known as the Louisiana Shakers, but like many musicians of his time, he sat in with many other famous groups. His father and mother taught their children how to play instruments, with young John mastering the drums at 12, and moved on to violin, clarinet and eventually his own version of an alto sax. However, it wasn't until late in life, during the 60s, when the Cap'n. made most of his recordings that became famous during which, he made a Far East tour and two recording tours to Europe.
Some of his best friends were Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Lionel Hampton, Papa Celestin, and many others.
His unique musical style was a great influence on New Orleans Revival Jazz and as a trendsetter for Rhythm and Blues.
Famed Handy tradition numbers such as Handy’s Gulf Coast Boogie and Cap’n’s Blues are still played ‘round the jazz-world.
Captain Handy’s final public appearance was at the New Orleans Jazz Fest in April 1970 where he shared top billing with Mahalia Jackson.
Capt. Handy was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame at his grave site in the Pass Christian Live Oak Cemetery on Friday, May 7, 2004 where Mississippi Coast Jazz Society members played special jazz tunes in simulating his funeral procession.
Since his burial in 1970, the Capt. John Handy grave has lain bare. In 2004,the Jazz In The Pass committee prepared a stone and plot covering to memorialize the final resting place of the Jazz great.
Katrina leveled the Handy Home on Handy Street August 29, 2005