A Celebration for the Living: Jazz funerals of New Orleans

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Information about A Celebration for the Living: Jazz funerals of New Orleans

Published on March 17, 2014

Author: KayKay33




New Orleans  The music of New Orleans incorporates various styles of music; borrowed from earlier traditions.   Universally considered to be the birthplace of the jazz genre.  Jazz in New Orleans has taken on various forms that have either branched out from original Dixieland or taken entirely different paths altogether. "Music here is as much a part of death as it is of life." - Sidney Bechet

History  The tradition of having music at funerals comes from the African pattern of celebration, which takes place in most aspects of life.  18th century – as brass bands came into style, they were called upon to play in parades and processions.  They were not frequently called upon for funerals until the early 20th century when the ragtime styled tunes became more popular.

Jazz Funerals  This idea caught on among the African- American population of the deep south  The tradition was not welcomed by the Catholic church, and so was restricted largely to the black Protestants of New Orleans  Partly because of the Catholic Church’s disapproval, the idea of the jazz funeral waned in the early 1950's.  The wild festivities ignored the attitude about the required solemnity of the traditional memorial service.

The Procession • Begins with a march by the family, friends, and a brass band. • The march starts at the funeral home or church, and ends at the cemetery. • The mood stays somber until the deceased has been laid to rest. • People on the are welcome to join in they are referred to as the “second line.” • The music and dancing encourage a therapeutic release for mourners as well as a celebration for a life well lived.

The music and dancing of the jazz funeral have two purposes: - Help the deceased find their way to heaven - Celebrate the final release from the bonds of their earthly life Music and Dance

Origins  The tradition combines African practices Haitian Voodoo idea of celebrating after death  The Celebrating pleases the spirits of the after life.  A proper funeral was needed for the spirit of the deceased to move on

Recent Days  Over time, the jazz funeral tradition has grown to become New Orleans’ most honored of funeral ceremonies.  They now incorporate horse-drawn hearses and parades for fallen police officers, well-known musicians, and other pillars of the community.  The traditional music of the jazz funeral began to fuse with influences from the funk and hip-hop world as street gangs and rappers alike adopted this style for honoring their dead.  One of the latest jazz funerals was that of rapper James “Soulja Slim” Tapp, the service drew a crowd of thousands

 The tradition of the New Orleans jazz funeral has dispersed somewhat in the wake of Hurricane Katrina  The victims of the Hurricane were given a final goodbye in the true New Orleans style.  The New Orleans funeral with music has grown to achieve its own respected standing among the many ways to commemorate the passage of a loved one.  The New Orleans jazz funeral salutes a life well lived and the passage of a departed soul into a better world. The Jazz Funeral Today

References  (1989). 1932-1943 The Bluebird Sessions [Web Photo]. Retrieved from  Barker, D. (1973). Bo urbo n Stre e t black. Oxford Univeristy Press. Retrieved from  Juan, J. (Photographer). (2011, May ). Olympia Brass Band [Web Photo]. Retrieved from  Ne w O rle ans ja zz fune ralba nds a nd m usic . (2013). Retrieved from  Ne w O rle ans ja zz fune ralcusto m s. (2014). Retrieved from  Piazza, T. (Photographer). (1969). Slowdrag [Web Photo]. Retrieved from  Salvatore, S. (Videographer) (2009). Ne w o rle a ns traditio naljazz a nd fune ralba nd [Web]. Retrieved from  Salvatore, S. (Videographer) (2009). Ne w o rle a ns traditio naljazz a nd fune ralba nd [Web]. Retrieved from  Tama, M. (Photographer). (2009). Second Line Parade [Web Photo]. Retrieved from parade-the-seventh-ward  The jazz fune ra l. (1996). Retrieved from  The Sidne y be che t so cie ty. (2014). Retrieved from  Thursby, J. S. (2006). Fune ralfe stiva ls in Am e rica: Rituals fo r the living . (p. 39). Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky.

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