Dave Bartholomew is a musician, bandleader, composer, and arranger, prominent in the music of New Orleans, Louisiana throughout the second half of the 20th century. He has been active in many musical genres, including rhythm & blues, big band, swing music, rock and roll, New Orleans jazz, Dixieland.
Bartholomew is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the self-proclaimed inventor of the Big Beat. He is from Edgard, Louisiana and first learned to play the tuba and trumpet, the later being his main instrument. His professional career began in New Orleans, when he put together a group that included Alvin 'Red' Tyler, Earl Palmer and Lee Allen. He began recording in 1947 for Deluxe Records, but the company folded and he received little recognition. In 1949, however, he began working with Lew Chudd's Imperial Records as an arranger, bandleader and talent scout. He produced hits from Earl King, Tommy Ridgely, Robert Parker, Frankie Ford, Chris Kenner, Smiley Lewis, Shirley & Lee and Fats Domino, among others. He left Imperial in the mid-1960s and moved between several labels, including his own Broadmoor Records (named for his neighborhood of New Orleans).
As of 2004 he is still involved in the music business and releasing recordings of his own. He also plays traditional jazz trumpet at Preservation Hall.