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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A jazz funeral is a funeral procession accompanied by a brass band, in the tradition of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Drummers at the funeral of jazz legend Danny Barker in 1994. They include Louis Cottrell, (great-grandson of New Orleans' innovative drumming pioneer, Louis Cottrell, Sr. and grandson of New Orleans clarinetist Louis Cottrell, Jr.) of the Young Tuxedo Brass Band, far right; Louis "Bicycle Lewie" Lederman of the Down & Dirty Brass band, second from right.
Drummers at the funeral of jazz legend Danny Barker in 1994. They include Louis Cottrell, (great-grandson of New Orleans' innovative drumming pioneer, Louis Cottrell, Sr. and grandson of New Orleans clarinetist Louis Cottrell, Jr.) of the Young Tuxedo Brass Band, far right; Louis "Bicycle Lewie" Lederman of the Down & Dirty Brass band, second from right.

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  • ✪ Wynton Marsalis | History of Jazz - Funeral and Church Music
  • ✪ George Lewis' Jazz Funeral (1969)

Transcription

The church music was very important to the early musicians because they were play many parades sponsored by social clubs, that were formed kind of like insurance, for when people would die. These social club would make sure that they burial was taken care of and you had to have a band to be buried right. The band would escort you to the cemetary playing hymns. The hymns were all in the kind of Anglo-American tradition things like Nearer my God to Thee Just a Closer Walk with Thee uh... The Old Rugged Cross. And then after they would play these hymns on the way to the cemetery very slowly and mournfully. Oh the horns would be just moaning and making it sad sound like a congregation. Sound like the choir singing in church. Then the deceased was put in a ground and then they will start playing the happy music and that fulfilled the bible's dictum mourn at birth and celebrate at death. I have seen a jazz funeral last from Friday to Monday mornings The wake started Friday night, Saturday night early Monday morning Yeah everybody got ? Everybody have a good time, eat and drink. Um, in terms of the church music the Afro American church the way of mourning and co signing the reverend and going back and forth all of these are things that are done on horns. So, If you are a reverend preaching a sermon Well I don't want to talk long no sir you don't We do that on the horns... So we have that same type of call and response.

Contents

History

The term "jazz funeral" was long in use by observers from elsewhere, but was generally disdained as inappropriate by most New Orleans musicians and practitioners of the tradition. The preferred description was "funeral with music"; while jazz was part of the music played, it was not the primary focus of the ceremony. This reluctance to use the term faded significantly in the final 15 years or so of the 20th century among the younger generation of New Orleans brass band musicians more familiar with the post-Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Soul Rebels Brass Band funk influenced style than the older traditional New Orleans jazz.

The tradition blends strong European and African cultural influences. Louisiana's colonial past gave it a tradition of military style brass bands which were called on for many occasions, including playing funeral processions.[1] This was combined with African spiritual practices, specifically the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria and other parts of West Africa. Jazz funerals are also heavily influenced by early twentieth century African American Protestant and Catholic churches, black brass bands, and the Haitian Voodoo idea of celebrating after death in order to please the spirits who protect the dead. Another group that has influenced jazz funerals is the Mardi Gras Indians.[2]

The tradition was widespread among New Orleanians across ethnic boundaries at the start of the 20th century. As the common brass band music became wilder in the years before World War I, some white New Orleanians considered the hot music disrespectful, and such musical funerals became rare among the city's white citizens. After the 1960s, it gradually started being practised across ethnic and religious boundaries. Most commonly such musical funerals are done for individuals who are musicians themselves, connected to the music industry, or members of various social aid and pleasure clubs or Carnival krewes who make a point of arranging for such funerals for members. Although the majority of jazz funerals are for African American musicians there has been a new trend in which jazz funerals are given to young people who have died.[3]

The organizers of the funeral arrange for hiring the band as part of the services. When a respected fellow musician or prominent member of the community dies, some additional musicians may also play in the procession as a sign of their esteem for the deceased.[4]

A typical jazz funeral begins with a march by the family, friends, and a brass band from the home, funeral home or church to the cemetery. Throughout the march, the band plays somber dirges and hymns.[4] A change in the tenor of the ceremony takes place, after either the deceased is entombed, or the hearse leaves the procession and members of the procession say their final goodbye and they "cut the body loose". After this the music becomes more upbeat, often starting with a hymn or spiritual number played in a swinging fashion, then going into popular hot tunes. There is raucous music and cathartic dancing where onlookers join in to celebrate the life of the deceased. Those who follow the band just to enjoy the music are called the second line, and their style of dancing, in which they walk and sometimes twirl a parasol or handkerchief in the air, is called second lining.[5]

Some typical pieces often played at jazz funerals are the slow, and somber song "Nearer My God to Thee" and such spirituals as "Just a Closer Walk With Thee". The later more upbeat tunes frequently include "When the Saints Go Marching In" and "Didn't He Ramble".[6]

Notable jazz funerals

Musicians play for a funeral leaving St. Augustine Church in the Tremé neighborhood; Dr. Michael White in foreground.
Musicians play for a funeral leaving St. Augustine Church in the Tremé neighborhood; Dr. Michael White in foreground.

See also

References

  1. ^ Stewart, 2004
  2. ^ Turner, 89
  3. ^ Sakakeeny, 2011
  4. ^ a b "Jazz Funerals", 2004
  5. ^ Spitzer, "Rebuilding the Land of Dreams-Part 7"
  6. ^ New Orleans Online, "The Jazz Funeral"

Further reading

  • "Funerals with Music in New Orleans", Dr. Jack Stewart, Save Our Cemeteries, Incorporated, & J. Stewart, New Orleans, 2004
  • Turner, Richard Brent. Jazz Religion, the Second Line, and Black New Orleans. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2009. Print.

External links

This page was last edited on 25 February 2019, at 07:39
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