New Orleans: The Birthplace of Jazz [Part III]
New Jazz Museum & Performance Space for New Orleans in 2010

Old U.S. Mint

New and future Jazz Museum at 400 Espanade Ave.  at the base of Frenchman Street
"This project is not about preserving the past," Blanchard said. "It's about recognizing theTerence_Blanchard.jpg past and moving into the future." said acclaimed composer and trumpeter Terrance Blanchard.


 Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu and Obama Interior Department Deputy Secretary Lynn Scarlett announced plans to transform the third floor of the Old U.S. Mint on Esplanade Avenue into a multimillion-dollar jazz performance space and museum slated to open  spring 2010.

Grammy Award-winning  jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard and his wife/manager, Robin Burgess, are expected to help book concerts oversee educational programs and launch the resource.

Plans call for a modular 4,000-square-foot performance space with seven different stage configurations. An on-site studio will make live concert recordings and radio broadcasts possible.

The project is a state/federal partnership involving the Louisiana State Museum, which owns the Old U.S. Mint, the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism and the U.S. Department of the Interior and National Park Service. The state and the National Park Service have each dedicated $2 million to the project.

Burgess hopes to develop a jazz subscription series similar to those of local opera and ballet companies, where patrons buy a season's worth of tickets. She believes a high-end jazz venue can attract the sort of high-profile jazz tours that routinely bypass New Orleans.

Louisiana Mint State Museum Official Site
Minting operations ceased in 1909 and, for the next 57 years, the Mint served a variety of official purposes. In 1966 the landmark was transferred to the state and in 1981 opened to the public as a State Museum site.
During Hurricane Katrina in 2005 the building lost its copper roof which flew down the street, landing on the French Market.

The museum contains a collection of pictures, musical instruments, and other artifacts connected with jazz greats -- Louis Armstrong's first trumpet is here. It tells of the development of the jazz tradition and New Orleans's place in that history.

 "Music gives the universe soul, the mind wings and the imagination a chance to escape. It gives seriousness charm and happiness and joy to all life."

Three types of Bands: Ragtime, Sweet & the blues

"From about 1900 on, there were three types of bands playing in New Orleans. You had bands that played ragtime, ones that played sweet music, and the ones that played nothin' but blues. A band like John Robichaux's played nothin' but sweet music and played the dirty affairs. On a Saturday night Frankie Duson's Eagle Band would play the Masonic Hall because he played a whole lot of blues. A band like the Magnolia Band would play ragtime and work the District...All the bands around New Orleans would play quadrilles starting about midnight. When you did that nice people would know it was time to go home because things got rough after that."

---Pops Foster, "Pops Foster: The Autobiography of a New Orleans Jazzman"

Funky Butt, Storyville:
"It was a real rough place. You have to take your razor with you `cause you may have to scratch somebody before you leave. The men never put their hats down. They put it on their arm to dance slow with the chick. And nobody better touch it either. After the dance was over, they'd ask did you touch my hat, partner? Yeah! Wop. He'd hit `em in the chops and fight was on."

---Louis Armstrong Funky Butt Hall, in Storyville,

File:Louis Armstrong NYWTS 3.jpg

One of the most famous Bolden numbers is a song called "Funky Butt" one of the earliest references to the concept of "funk" in popular music, now a musical subgenre unto itself.

I thought I heard Buddy Bolden say,
Funky-butt, funky-butt, take it away.

Jazzy and jubilant, soulful and spiritual, rocking and rolling – New Orleans music tells the story of the city and its people to anyone who will hear it, and in the most eloquent ways imaginable.
 Come and listen.

On the Road:
"There was this club, too, that we played at, the Twenty-Five Club. That was about 1912, 1913; and all the time we played there, people were talking about Freddie Keppard. Freddie, he had left New Orleans with his band and he was traveling all over the country playing towns on the Orpheum Circuit. At the time, you know, that was something new and Freddie kept sending back all these clippings from what all the newspapermen and the critics and all was writing up about him, about his music, about his band. And all these clippings were asking the same thing: where did it come from? It seems like everyone along the circuit was coming up to Freddie to ask about this ragtime. Especially when his show, the Original Creole Band, got to the Winter Gardens in New York...that was the time they was asking about it the most. Where did it come from? And back at the Twenty-Five these friends of Freddie's kept coming around and showing these clippings, wanting to know what it was all about. It was a new thing then."

Sidney Bechet, "Treat It Gentle"

Sidney Bechet publicity photo
Sidney Bechet

Sidney Bechet (May 14, 1897 – May 14, 1959) was one of the first important soloists in jazz  Forceful delivery, well-constructed improvisations, and a distinctive, wide vibrato characterized Bechet's playing according to One of the first real jazz improvisers and an accomplished musician before he was 10, Bechet moved from clarinet to laying mainly soprano saxophone. He was to become one of the most famous early jazzmen abroad, visiting England and France in 1919 and Moscow in 1927.  He lived a very rich life, always managing to "make the scene" where it was "happening", whether it be in New Orleans, Chicago, New York, Berlin or Paris.
In Chicago in the early 1920s, Bill Johnson assembled King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band, considered the best of the early ensemble style jazz bands featuring all stars of early jazz.

Bill Johnson in 1909

Bill Johnson in 1909 he became one of the first band leaders to take Jazz outside New Orleans to California. He was also an innovator on his bass instrument

In 1909 he was the leader of a band in California. In 1912 he sent for Freddie Keppard and several other New Orleans musicians and toured the country until 1918 on the Orpheum circuit under the name of The Original Creole Orchestra.

Bill Johnson was also considered the father of the "slap" style of string bass playing. Johnson claimed to have started "slapping" the strings of his bass (a more vigorous technique than the classical pizzicato), after he accidentally broke his bow on the road with his band in northern Louisiana in the early 1910s. Other New Orleans string bass players picked up this style, and spread it across the country with the spread of New Orleans Jazz.William Manuel "Bill" Johnson

First Band to Record
Ory's reply when asked by a fan for tips on playing the trombone was never do it for nothing. He named King Oliver "King."
Kid Ory was the greatest trombone player in the early years of Jazz. Ory's Band featured many of the great musicians who would go on to define the Hot Jazz style. At various times King Oliver, a young Louis Armstrong, Johnny Dodds, Sidney Bechet and Jimmie Noone all played in Ory's band. In 1919 Ory relocated to California for health reasons. He assembled a new group of New Orleans musicians on the West Coast and played regularly under the name of Kid Ory's Creole Orchestra. In 1922 they became the first African-American jazz band from New Orleans to record.
During the Depression Ory played very little and ran a chicken ranch with his brother. When the Dixieland revival occurred in the 1940's, Ory found his style of music back in vogue. He revived Kid Ory's Creole Orchestra in 1943 and was able to continue to play, tour and record Jazz becoming an important force in reviving interest in New Orleans jazz, and making it popular on radio broadcasts until he retired in 1966 to Hawaii.

The cornet

The cornet is a brass instrument very similar to the trumpet, distinguished by its conical bore, compact shape, and mellower tone quality. The most common cornet is a transposing instrument in B
In old style jazz bands, the cornet was preferred to the trumpet, but from the swing era onwards it has been largely replaced by the trumpet, although it has never passed completely out of use. The cornet is now rarely found in big bands mainly because of its limited volume and less piercing tone in comparison to the trumpet. A growing taste for louder and more aggressive sounding instruments has been the chief cause of this trend, especially since the advent of bebop in the post World War II era.

The legendary jazz pioneer Buddy Bolden played the cornet, and Louis Armstrong, probably the best-known jazz cornetist, started off on the cornet as well, but later switched to the trumpet. Cornetists such as Bubber Miley and Rex Stewart contributed substantially to the Duke Ellington Orchestra's early sound. Other influential jazz cornetists include King Oliver, Bix Beiderbecke, Ruby Braff and Nat Adderley.
 music called Jazz was born sometime around 1895 in New Orleans. It combined elements of Ragtime, marching band music and Blues and whatever else was floating into New Orleans from the Mississippi Delta and throughout the South where new forms had been percolating for generations as slave music. What differentiated Jazz from these earlier styles was the widespread use of improvisation, often by more than one player at a time.
Celebrating the life of the community by  suspending daily cares for as long as the festival lasts is an ancient African tradition. The five days of Carnival ending on Shrove Tuesday as a time for merry making and release marking the beginning of a more solemn pre Easter Lent season in the Catholic Church was a match made in heaven for displaced African communities. 
The collective African soul carries  an ancient tradition of parading and moving in circles through villages wearing masks and costumes.
The practice was believed to heal problems, chill out ancestors and fellow tribe members who had passed to the spirit world and bring good fortune. This is a time of masking, where the crossover between sacred and secular reveals another character to the mask wearer.  The parading is also accompanied by dressing up with special wear which may have spiritual significance. These elements can still be found in today's New World Carnival traditions as the product of a jazz like mix with European traditions within the Caribbean, Latin, Brazilian and Creole cultures of the Americas. As most agree, humanity began in Africa, these syncretic Carnaval traditions represent the completion of a cycle as we move forward in the 21st century.

The "Crescent City" -- so called because it was built along a bend in the river -- was also home to Choctaw and Natchez Indians. It would was or would be people from the Balkans: Dalmatians, Serbs,Montenegrins, Greeks, Albanians. Spanish-speaking Filipinos came and stayed, too, alongside Chinese and Malays. After 1850, large numbers of German and Irish and Silician immigrants would be added to the mix. By 1860, 40 percent of the people of New Orleans were foreign-born.

New Orleans had been the center of the southern slave trade with two dozen slave auction houses and, several times a year, the spacious ballrooms of its two grandest hotels doubled as showrooms for human merchandise. These slaves, however, had no rights whatsoever and until the Emancipation Proclamation following the Civil War, their children and their children's children had no avenue to be anything but property to another unless they escaped to the North, the swamps of Florida or New Orleans.

New Orleans Louisiana or NOLA was also home to the most prosperous community of free people of color in the South. Many were the descendants of French colonists and their African- and Native-American wives and mistresses. They called themselves "Creoles of Color" and spoke French or a distinctive patois that white Americans called "nigger French." A wealthy few sent their children to Paris to school. Creoles controlled cigar making and bricklaying, carpentry and shoemaking in the city. Many lived south of Canal Street in the original, most fashionable section, called "Downtown and dominated the music local thriving music industry. 

"(That) song caused a lot of trouble in and out of show business, but it was also good for show business because at the time money was short in all walks of life. With the publication of that song, a new musical rhythm was given to the people. Its popularity grew and it sold like wildfire... That one song opened the way for a lot of colored and white songwriters. Finding the rhythm so great, they stuck to it."

---Ernest Hogan

Ragtime first appeared as sheet music with the African American entertainer Ernest Hogan's hit songs in 1895, however the controversy generated by the biggest hit song and its many imitations has shrouded Hogan's historic musical achievements. In 1897  Vess Ossman recorded a medley of these songs as a banjo solo "Rag Time Medley" and white composer William H. Krell published his "Mississippi Rag" as the first written piano instrumental ragtime piece.  

The abolition of slavery led to new but limited opportunities for freed African-Americans. Black pianists played in bars, clubs and brothels, and ragtime developed. Ragtime has been called the first American music and was its start associated with the piano.

Ragtime was distinguished from other music of the time mainly by the treble syncopations over the regularly accented bass. Elements of the music, apart from the African rhythmic features, can be traced to Euro-American dances, post Civil War marches and New Orleans-born Louis M. Gottschalk's brand of European classicism.

The classically-trained pianist Scott Joplin produced his "Original Rags" in the following year, then in 1899 had an international hit with "Maple Leaf Rag." He wrote numerous popular rags, including, "The Entertainer", combining syncopation, banjo figurations and sometimes call-and-response, which led to the ragtime idiom being taken up by classical composers including Claude Debussy and Igor Stravinsky.

The Mississippi River towns of Sedalia and St. Louis became centers of the new music.

The Blues
Blues emerged at the end of the 19th century as an accessible form of self-expression in African-American communities of the United States from spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads. Prior to the emergence of the blues, solo music was atypical. Booker T. Washington’s teachings, and the Horatio Alger model, which asserted that the individual molds his own destiny, influenced this form of personalized music.

As emancipated slaves took their freedom on the road they brought with them as part of their baggage two interrelated forms essential to the development of jazz -- the sacred music of the Baptist church and that music's profane twin, the blues. "One was praying to God and the other was praying to what's human," a New Orleans musician said, "One was saying 'oh God, let me go,' and the other was saying, 'oh mister, let me be.'"

The blues were good-time music, which was why, to many churchgoers, there were anathema, the work of the devil, forbidden to be saved. But musically, the blues and the hymns black Baptists sang and played in church had always been virtually interchangeable -- filled with identical bent notes, moans and cries. And in the 1890s, the distinction would blur still further as the new Holiness churches that had begun to spring up in the black neighborhoods of the big cities all over the country started employing tambourines, drums, pianos, cornets, even trombones in order to make their noise still more joyful to the Lord.

The migration of many blacks to the cities gave them a new freedom from the church and community that had not been experienced in rural areas. Blacks demanded entertainment, and black theaters, dance halls, and clubs were opened.

The origin of Blues music is associated with the Mississippi Delta area of the South. The music genre is based on the use of the blues chord progressions and the blue notes. Though several blues forms exist, the 12-bar blues chord progressions are the most frequently encountered. Blue notes are sung or played at a slightly lower pitch than that of the major scale for expressive purposes.

The term "the blues" refers to the "the blue devils", meaning melancholy and sadness. The colour blue expressed a feeling of sadness and depression, and of being lonely. While Negro spirituals lent itself to a choral treatment and expressed the blacks' need for spiritual guidance, the blues was about people and their everyday struggles. Blues lyrics was about money problems, broken hearts, loneliness and sickness. Melancholy, however is most frequently the theme; the essence of the blues is in such traditional lines as "Got the blues, but too damn mean to cry"


It has been claimed that Yoruba mythology played a part in early blues, citing Robert Johnson's "Cross Road Blues" as a "thinly veiled reference to Eleggua, the orisha in charge of the crossroads" Some say Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil which Christianity has often associated with trickster figures from mythology like Eleggua.

Many early jazz compositions were based on blues principles. Boogie-woogie is a particular style of piano playing in early jazz. It is constructed on a 12-bar blues scale. In 1900 it was known as "honky-tonk" in New Orleans. Boogie-woogie is characterized by right-hand melody improvisation and left-hand repeated rhythmic motive, a sort of "walking bass". Like ragtime, it was music meant for dancing.

Blues music was collected, reworked, published and popularized by W. C. Handy, whose "Memphis Blues" of 1912 and "St. Louis Blues" of 1914 both became jazz standards. The blues tradition also is credited as the foundation for rhythm and blues which gave us rock and roll. Many have had the privilege to appreciate live great blues talents with deep roots in the living tradition like T-Bone Walker, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Albert King, B.B.King and Albert Collins.

In the 1940s and '50s, New Orleans-raised Professor Longhair incorporated the intricate rhythms of the Caribbean into his blues piano playing to create and record a unique style of the blues that has since been dubbed "rumba boogie." By the 1950s and '60s, Fats Domino began combining classic "boogie woogie" piano, a New Orleans beat, and R&B and jazz roots on hits like "Walkin' to New Orleans" and "Blueberry Hill."

During the 1950s, New Orleans was an important center of R&B recording in the South and successful musicians like Professor Longhair helped pave the way for upcoming artists such as Malcolm John Rebennack, Jr., aka "Dr John."

Slave supervisors allowed, and even encouraged, the slaves to sing. The singing contributed them to overcome the monotony in the work out on the field, in a way it raised the work ethic.

This was how the concept ‘plantation songs' started. The work song did not only function as a stimulant, where the rhythm of the song subsidized the work-rhythm, but also as a news channel. This was the only way the slaves could talk to each other during work; by singing.

Many spirituals have river motives." Songs like "Deep River", "Down by the River Side" and "I've got peace like a River", all talks about crossing the great river which is a symbol of rebirth.

The art of singing a spiritual demanded a style and talent to embellish a melody. This technique of improvising was one of the main influences in the development and evolution of the jazz style, and was to be one of the most exciting elements of jazz.

"A lot of times I tell people, I don't what it is (my sound), I just play it. But I do know what it is. It's mixed up with spiritual, sanctified rhythms, and the feeling I put into it when I'm playing, I have the feeling of making people shout. I put it right there in the shout mode, and they can't help it, 'cause I got it locked right in there. And that's what you gotta do. If you can't lock them into that mode, they don't move."

--Bo Diddley

In the Ring Shout celebrants dance around in a circle, stamping feet and hand-clapping in rhythm and singing spirituals. The hand-clapping and foot-stomping evolved to take the place of the drums and the ceremony was known for its revivalist frenzy.

Minstrel tradition of Songsters
Before the blues, black slaves who provided music for their owners and for their fellow slaves were considered an asset. For most of the 19th century the "Ethiopian minstrel" shows were America's most popular form of musical theatre. White performers dressed as African –Americans with blackface makeup gave white America their first exposure to black music, and later on more black performers could be heard and seen in minstrel shows, laying the groundwork for the later popularity of jazz and blues.

Soon after the end of slavery, the songster tradition began, such that it co-existed with blues music.  Songsters generally performed a wide variety of folk songs, ballads, dance tunes, reels and minstrel songs. Initially, they were often accompanied by non-singing "musicianers", who often played banjo and fiddle. Later, as the guitar became more widely popular, the songsters often accompanied themselves.

Songsters often accompanied medicine shows, which moved from place to place selling salves and elixirs. As entertainers, songsters had the task of enticing a public, to whom the concoctions were then offered.

"Oh Susannah" and "My Old Kentucky Home" written by Stephen Foster who was white, are examples of minstrel songs from that time that are still sung today.
By the late 1880's, Vaudeville had pretty much replaced the Minstrels but the rich tradition entered into the melange that became jazz.

Brass Bands
Rebirth-Brass-Band-Oct-08.jpgWell before the Civil War, the city also exhibited what the New Orleans Picayune called "a real mania for horn and trumpet playing," and dance musicians often doubled in the marching bands that seemed always to be playing somewhere in town -- entertaining picnickers in the parks or along the southern shore of Lake Pontchartrain, waging what one observer called "a windy war" by blaring different airs from the decks of steamboats anchored side by side, escorting mourners to and from the cemetery "preceded, followed and hemmed in on every side by a... collection of all colors, sexes and conditions."

After Emancipation, the music continued and in large and small towns across the South there were concert brass bands of black musicians, similar to those heard throughout white America at the time, as well as dance bands that combined brass and string instruments.

In New Orleans after the Civil War, it was much easier to get musical instruments, so newly freed African Americans, began to form marching bands that consisted of only brass
instruments with the lone exception of a bass and tom tom drums. In the late 1890's and the early 1900's these brass bands began to be asked to perform at Jazz funerals. Jazz funerals were at the heart of an early African slave religious practice, of celebrating of the life of a deceased person.

Numerous marching bands played at lavish funerals arranged by the African American community. The instruments used in marching bands and dance bands became the basic instruments of jazz: brass and reeds tuned in the European 12-tone scale and drums. Small bands of primarily self-taught African American musicians, many of whom came from the funeral-procession tradition of New Orleans, played a seminal role in the development and dissemination of early jazz, traveling throughout Black communities in the Deep South and, from around 1914 on, Afro-Creole and African American musicians playing in vaudeville shows took jazz to western and northern US cities.

In New Orleans the second line parades have a long history together with the Social (Aide) & Pleasure Club of the neighborhood of the town. The S&P Clubs are today, a mere shadow of their former selves, and known not as the fore runners of the insurance industry in Louisiana, but as the, "Keepers of the Second Line Tradition."

A Main Line is the main section or the members of the actual club, that has the permit to parade. The main line is usually the Social (Aid) & Pleasure Club of the neighborhood in which they are parading. Behind this group is the second line. The name second line, is also the name of a unique dance, performed to the beat of New Orleans’traditional jazz. The dance is an evolved version of what is a natural form of African dance.

An especially lively and innovative black dance band scene developed in New Orleans

Taking the cake

 "If you haven't been on a second line, there's something about jazz you don't know....We've gotten to think of dance music as something dumb, something that just goes thump-thump-thump, but dancing is an intense listening state.

---Ned Sublette

Dancing was the most popular form of social entertainment during the era of jazz evolution. The dance forms existing during jazz's evolution included: the French quadrille, the waltz, polka, schottische, and even the military march. The Cakewalk and its predecessor ragtime used the march form, adding syncopation and using the steady rhythm of the march. 

Perhaps the most popular social dance in the city of New Orleans, a French and Spanish City, was the Quadrille. The Quadrille is best described as a type of square dance but with more 'polite' movements, more grace, and more formal calls. It is a series of settings that alternate between the meters of 2/4 and 6/8. The movements were never in any set rhythmic pattern. 











The Comus Waltz 1856 according to " when first introduced, was considered a very 'risqué' dance, and one of the first to have the two partners hold each other. It is one of the most graceful dances in dance history. " Rename

Creole musicians -- sometimes whole orchestras, more often a string trio or quartet -- supplied most of the music for the city's dancers, both white and Creole: waltzes, polkas, schottisches, quadrilles, and sensual, syncopated contredanses, including habaneras, filled with Spanish rhythms carried to New Orleans from Haiti and Cuba. They played for the celebrated -- or notorious -- "quadroon balls," too, at which white men sought out Creole women to be their mistresses. Nonwhite males were officially barred, though since men and women alike often wore masks, it was sometimes hard to tell just who was asking whom to dance. As Danny Barker remarked, in New Orleans there has always been "a whole lot of integrating going on."

Meanwhile, a steady stream of black refugees from the Mississippi Delta was pouring into the city, people for whom even hard labor on the levee promised a better life than any they could hope to have back home, chopping cotton or cutting cane.

The earliest blues singers -- wandering guitarists who played for pennies along the southern roads -- followed no strict musical form. But as first New Orleans musicians and then others around the country began to try to play the blues on their instruments and songwriters started to see commercial possibilities in them, an agreed-upon form was developed: stripped to the essentials, blues came to be built on just three chords most often arranged in 12-bar sequences that somehow allowed for an infinite number of variations and were capable of expressing an infinite number of emotions. The blues could be about anything -- a beautiful woman, a mean boss, the devil himself -- but they were always intensely personal, meant to make the listener feel better, not worse -- and each performer was expected to tell a story.

In the late 1800's New Orleans was two cities; uptown, or American Section, West of Canal Street, and the downtown, or French Section, East of Canal Street.

The Downtown city had Whites and Creoles, while the Uptown was mostly recently freed Black slaves. The Creoles were musically trained, -good sight readers. The blacks, from uptown, often studied music with Creole instructors.

In 1894, all that changed. Very restrictive racial segregation laws were promulgated, insuring the segregation of even the Creoles. It was something of a comedown for the usually well trained Creole musicians, to be thrown into competition with the poorer, largely untrained, 'uptown' Blacks. The first melting and refining of Jazz was already taking place. Musicians began to play what they felt, -what their talents allowed, with each making his individual contribution to the whole.

Over the last decade of the 19th century, non reading musicians playing more improvised music drew larger audiences for dances and parades. For example, between 1895 and 1900 uptown cornet player Charles "Buddy" Bolden began incorporating improvised blues and increasing the tempo of familiar dance tunes. Bolden was credited by many early jazzmen as the first musician to have a distinctive new style. The increasing popularity of this more "ratty" music brought many trained and untrained musicians into the improvising bands. Also, repressive segregation laws passed in the 1890s (as a backlash to Reconstruction) increased discrimination toward anyone with African blood and eliminated the special status previously afforded Creoles of color. These changes ultimately united black and Creole of color musicians, thus strengthening early jazz by combing the uptown improvisational style with the more disciplined Creole approach.

Bellocq's Storyville photographs were taken in the legalized red light district of New Orleans around 1912

Storyville was the prostitution district of New Orleans, Louisiana, from 1897 through 1917. It was bounded by Iberville, Basin, St. Louis, and Robertson streets. Most of this former district is now occupied by the Iberville Housing Projects, two blocks inland from the French Quarter. The District was adjacent to one of the main railway stations where travelers arrived in the city and became a noted attraction for many visitors.

Jazz did not originate in Storyville, but it incubated and flourished as much there as anywhere else in the city; many out-of-town visitors first heard this style of music there before the music spread up north.

Between 1897 and 1917, Basin Street (the district's main avenue) flourished, as did music and dance or as they say in New Orleans:"Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez"  A brothel prostitute was known as a "Jazz Belle", while her customer was a "Jazz Beau". The better establishments were decorated with gilded mirrors, Oriental carpets, and crystal chandeliers, while guests were entertained with nightly music by such men as Kid Ory, Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet, King Oliver, Buddy Bolden, Paul Barbarin, Kid Ory, Freddy Keppard, Bunk Johnson, Henry “Red” Allen, and Manuel Perez. and King Oliver.

There were even two Storyvilles, Uptown side - "Back O' Town", west of Canal Street, was for Blacks, while the downtown side, east of Canal Street was for Whites.

The District was closed down by the federal government (over the strong objections of the New Orleans city government) during World War I in 1917. In regard to prostitution, New Orleans Mayor Martin Behrman pronounced that, "[y]ou can make it illegal, but you can't make it unpopular." After 1917, when Storyville was shut down, separate black and white underground dens of prostitution emerged around the city and the celebrated King Oliver left for Chicago.

The District continued in a more subdued state as an entertainment center through the 1920s, with various dance halls, cabarets and restaurants. Speakeasies, gambling joints and prostitution were also regularly found in the area despite repeated police raids. Most of the former District was demolished in the 1930s to clear the land for the building of the Iberville Projects including the old mansions along Basin Street which among the finest structures in the city.

Some historians cite the closure as setting loose an exodus of jazz musicians who made the 20's "the jazz age."  Ladies shortened their tresses and bobbed their hair, they hiked up their skirts, rolled down their stockings, and rouged their lips. Men dressed in the new styles of suits, slicked down their hair, and - it seemed - the entire world was listening to, and dancing - publicly - to Jazz.

The book features among its 500-plus pictures many of the previously unseen shots of musicians and venues glimpsed in Ken Burns's 10-part documentary, Jazz.(19-hour, 10-episode first aired on PBS in January, 2001 )
Jazz: An Illustrated History
follows the film episode by episode, and it's filled with rich historical detail in the early chapters. Like the series, however, the book trails off after a certain point in chronicling jazz's history. It gives background aplenty on early New Orleans music, the migration of jazz up the Mississippi to major urban centers, and the developments of swing and bebop.

"The authors seem to have signed onto the orthodoxy of Wynton Marsalis and his ilk. In a nutshell, this holds that jazz took (multiple) wrong turns in the modern era. It stopped featuring the familiar, danceable, toe-tappable shuffling swing that earned it its original popularity. In other words, modern jazz has turned into a musical dead end. The only hope for its salvation is to return to the earlier swing and bop forms and overlay them with a slightly more complex and refined sensibility....The development of Jazz guitar is largely ignored (Wes Montgomery, where are you?), fusion is distained, smooth jazz is dismissed as aural wallpaper, non-American jazz players are barely mentioned...I purchased this book at a steep discount and keep it on my coffee table. It's a great book if you are nostalgic, and it's a nice introduction to Jazz as long as you are aware of Ken Burns' biases. If you really want to learn more about Jazz, you're going to have to dig deeper, find a knowledgeable and supportive CD store, and explore this beautiful world in alternate ways.

The instrumentation and section playing of the brass bands increasingly influenced the dance bands, which changed in orientation from string to brass instruments. What ultimately became the standard front line of a New Orleans jazz band was cornet, clarinet, and trombone. These horns collectively improvising or "faking" ragtime yielded the characteristic polyphonic sound of New Orleans jazz.

New Orleans jazz began to spread to other cities as the city's musicians joined riverboat bands and vaudeville, minstrel, and other show tours. Jelly Roll Morton, an innovative piano stylist and composer, began his odyssey outside of New Orleans as early as 1907. The Original Creole Orchestra, featuring Freddie Keppard, was an important early group that left New Orleans, moving to Los Angeles in 1912 and then touring the Orpheum Theater circuit, with gigs in Chicago and New York. In fact, Chicago and New York became the main markets for New Orleans jazz. Tom Brown's Band from Dixieland left New Orleans for Chicago in 1915, and Nick LaRocca and other members of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band headed there in 1916

In 1917 the Original Dixieland Jazz Band cut the first commercial jazz recording while playing in New York City, where they were enthusiastically received. The Victor release was an unexpected hit. Suddenly, jazz New Orleans style was a national craze.

With the new demand for jazz, employment opportunities in the north coaxed more musicians to leave New Orleans. For example, clarinetist Sidney Bechet left for Chicago in 1917, and cornetist Joe "King" Oliver followed two years later. The appeal of the New Orleans sound knew no boundaries. By 1919 the Original Dixieland Jazz Band was performing in England and Bechet was in France; their music was wholeheartedly welcomed.

From 1919 Kid Ory's Original Creole Jazz Band of musicians from New Orleans played in San Francisco and Los Angeles where in 1922 they became the first black jazz band of New Orleans origin to make recordings.

King Oliver, who had led popular bands in New Orleans along with trombonist Edward "Kid" Ory, established the trend-setting Creole Jazz Band in Chicago in 1922. Also in Chicago, the New Orleans Rhythm Kings blended the Oliver and Original Dixieland Jazz Band sounds and collaborated with Jelly Roll Morton in 1923.

Prohibition in the United States (from 1920 to 1933) banned the sale of alcoholic drinks, resulting in illicit speakeasies becoming lively venues of the "Jazz Age", an era when popular music included current dance songs, novelty songs, and show tunes. Jazz started to get a reputation as being immoral and many members of the older generations saw it as threatening the old values in culture and promoting the new decadent values of the Roaring 20s.

Bix Beiderbecke formed The Wolverines in 1924. Also in 1924 Louis Armstrong joined the Fletcher Henderson dance band as featured soloist for a year, then formed his virtuosic Hot Five band, also popularising scat singing. Jelly Roll Morton recorded with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings in an early mixed-race collaboration, then in 1926 formed his Red Hot Peppers.

New Orleans musicians and musical styles continued to influence jazz nationally as the music went through a rapid series of stylistic changes. Jazz became the unchallenged popular music of America during the Swing era of the 1930s and 1940s. Later innovations, such as bebop in the 1940s and avant-garde in the 1960s, departed further from the New Orleans tradition.

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Stylistic origins: Blues, Folk, March, Ragtime
Cultural origins: Early 1910s New Orleans
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Mainstream popularity: 1920s–1960s
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New Orleans & Frommers Google Map by Mission District historian dedicated to music, and more specifically to the blues, which has a great place in my heart  Your Online Source for Historical Jazz

30 greatest jazz trumpet players of all-time @

The Word Jazz, Baseball & San Franisco
A more lasting influence emerged in 1913, in a series of articles by E.T. "Scoop" Gleeson in the San Francisco Bulletin, found by researchers Peter Tamony (who carried out the pioneering research in this area) and Dick Holbrook, that likely were instrumental in bringing jazz to a broader public. These initial articles were written in Boyes Springs, California, where the San Francisco Seals baseball team was in training. In the earliest reference, on March 3, 1913, jazz was used in a negative sense, to indicate that disparaging information about ball player George Clifford McCarl had turned out to be inaccurate: "McCarl has been heralded all along the line as a 'busher,' but now it develops that this dope is very much to the 'jazz.'"

Three days later, on March 6, Gleeson used jazz extensively in a longer article, in which he explained the term's meaning, which had now turned from negative to positive connotations:

"Everybody has come back to the old town full of the old "jazz" and they promise to knock the fans off their feet with their playing. What is the "jazz"? Why, it's a little of that "old life," the "gin-i-ker," the "pep," otherwise known as the enthusiasalum. A grain of "jazz" and you feel like going out and eating your way through Twin Peaks. It's that spirit which makes ordinary ball players step around like Lajoies and Cobbs."

The article uses jazz several more times and says that the San Francisco Seals' "members have trained on ragtime and 'jazz' and manager Del Howard says there's no stopping them." The context of the article as a whole shows that a musical meaning of jazz is not intended; rather, ragtime and "jazz" were both used as markers of ebullient spirit.

the Literary Digest wrote on April 26, 1919, that "[t]he phrase 'jazz band' was first used by Bert Kelly in Chicago in the fall of 1915, and was unknown in New Orleans."


New Orleans gave birth to an indigenous music: jazz. Soon brass bands formed, gaining popular attraction that still holds today. The city's music was later significantly influenced by Acadiana, home of Cajun and Zydeco music, and Delta blues.

The history of the marching band in New Orleans is a rich one,

Much later in its musical development, New Orleans was home to a distinctive brand of rhythm and blues that contributed greatly to the growth of rock and roll. An example of New Orleans' sound in the 1960s is the #1 US hit "Chapel of Love" by the Dixie Cups, a song which knocked The Beatles out of the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100.

Marching Bands

French Quarter Festival, which comes around again next month.

But the fetes begin this week on a bookish note, not entirely quiet, with the celebration of Southern literature and a former resident. The Tennessee Williams-New Orleans Literary Festival, a gathering of scholars, authors, performing artists and others, pays homage to the writer who called New Orleans "one of the last frontiers of Bohemia."

six-mile-long Magazine Street, the city's most interesting shopping-and-dining avenue
Top Ten Attractions
head out into the wild. The Audubon Nature Institute offers a whole host of activities, from museums to parks, that are familyfriendly. Take the kids to the Audubon Zoo, Insectarium or Aquarium of the Americas, or just stroll through Audubon Park.
A walking tour of the Garden District takes visitors through a neighborhood of antebellum mansions and distinguished homes.


Louis Armstrong was born in a poor section of New Orleans known as “the Battlefield” on August 4, 1901.  He also played in the riverboat band run by Fate Marable that helped bring jazz up the river from New Orleans to other parts of the country. King Oliver brought him up from Chicago in 1922, and he made his first records with Oliver's band and married the pianist, Lil Hardin. He followed Lil's advice and joined the Fletcher Henderson band, and then returned to Chicago, also switching from cornet to trumpet. He became noted for his incredible skill and stamina, for his improvisation, and for being one of the greatest showmen in entertainment history. In 1925, he made his first records as a leader, and his Hot Fives and Hot Sevens records of the 20s remain classics today. He started fronting his own groups, and also became famous for his unusual singing voice and his use of scat singing. In the early 30s, he spent several years touring in Europe. In 1935, he returned home, and his manager Joe Glaser set up a big band for him and also guided his career so that he became a star of pop music, radio, films and TV. After World War II, he stopped leading a big band, and led a series of "All-Stars" groups that became very popular and that concentrated on a traditional New Orleans style. In the 1960s, he had several big hits on the pop music charts, including "Hello, Dolly" and "What A Wonderful World." Eventually, he cut back on his appearances and recordings due to poor health

By the time of his death in 1971, the man known around the world as

"If you don't like Louis Armstrong, you don't know how to love"
    -- Mahalia Jackson


"It's America's classical music ... this becomes our tradition ... the bottom line of any country in the world is what did we contribute to the world? ... we contributed Louis Armstrong"

    -- Tony Bennett

"He could play a trumpet like nobody else, then put it down and sing a song like no one else could."

    -- Eddie Condon


"You can't play anything on a horn that Louis hasn't played"

    -- Miles Davis

 Satchmo was widely recognized as a founding father of jazz—a uniquely American art form. His influence, as an artist and cultural icon, is universal, unmatched, and very much alive today.

Louis Armstrong’s achievements are remarkable. During his career, he:

  • developed a way of playing jazz, as an instrumentalist and a

    "What was the greatest band of the 20th century? Forget the Beatles - it was Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and its subsequent incarnation, the Hot Seven... these bands altered the course of popular music."

      -- Playboy magazine

    "Louis Armstrong is the master of the jazz solo. He became the beacon, the light in the tower, that helped the rest of us navigate the tricky waters of jazz improvisation."

      -- Ellis Marsalis

    "I think that anybody from the 20th century, up to now, has to be aware that if it wasn't for Louis Armstrong, we'd all be wearing powdered wigs. I think that Louis Armstrong loosened the world, helped people to be able to say "Yeah," and to walk with a little dip in their hip. Before Louis Armstrong, the world was definitely square, just like Christopher Columbus thought."

    -- South African trumpet legend Hugh Masekela

     vocalist, which has had an impact on all musicians to follow;

  • recorded hit songs for five decades, and his music is still heard today on television and radio and in films;
  • wrote two autobiographies, more than ten magazine articles, hundreds of pages of memoirs, and thousands of letters;
  • appeared in more than thirty films (over twenty were full-length features) as a gifted actor with superb comic timing and an unabashed joy of life;
  • composed dozens of songs that have become jazz standards;
  • performed an average of 300 concerts each year, with his frequent tours to all parts of the world earning him the nickname “Ambassador Satch,” and became one of the first great celebrities of the twentieth century.

Through the years, Louis entertained millions, from heads of state and royalty to the kids on his stoop in Corona. Despite his fame, he remained a humble man and lived a simple life in a working-class neighborhood. To this day, everyone loves Louis Armstrong—just the mention of his name makes people smile.

“I see trees of green........ red roses too
I see ’em bloom..... for me and for you
And I think to myself.... what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue..... clouds of white
Bright blessed days....dark sacred nights
And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world.

The colors of a pretty the sky
Are also on the faces.....of people ..going by
I see friends shaking hands.....sayin’.. how do you do
They’re really sayin’......I love you.”
“Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?”
Like almost all early Jazz musicians, Louis was from New Orleans. He was from a very poor family and was sent to reform school when he was twelve after firing a gun in the air on New Year's Eve. At the school he learned to play cornet. After being released at age fourteen, he worked selling papers, unloading boats, and
Louis with his mother, Mayann, and sister, Mama Lucy (Beatrice), c. 1922

 selling coal from a cart. He didn't own an instrument at this time, but continued to listen to bands at clubs like the Funky Butt Hall. Joe "King" Oliver was his favorite and the older man acted as a father to Louis, even giving him his first real cornet, and instructing him on the instrument. By 1917 he played in an Oliver inspired group at dive bars in New Orleans' Storyville section. In 1919 he left New Orleans for the first time to join Fate Marable's band in St. Louis. Marable led a band that played on the Strekfus Mississsippi river boat lines. When the boats left from New Orleans Armstrong also played regular gigs in Kid Ory's band. Louis stayed with Marable until 1921 when he returned to New Orleans and played in Zutty Singleton's. He also played in parades with the Allen Brass Band, and on the bandstand with Papa Celestin's Tuxedo Orchestra , and the Silver Leaf Band. When King Oliver left the city in 1919 to go to Chicago, Louis took his place in Kid Ory's band from time to time. In 1922 Louis received a telegram from his mentor Joe Oliver, asking him to join his Creole Jazz Band at Lincoln Gardens (459 East 31st Street) in Chicago. This was a dream come true for Armstrong and his amazing playing in the band soon made him a sensation among other musicians in Chicago.


"Pops. Sweet Papa Dip. Satchmo. He had perfect pitch and perfect rhythm. His improvised melodies and singing could be as lofty as a moon flight or as low-down as the blood drops of a street thug dying in the gutter. Like most of the great innovators in jazz, he was a small man. But the extent of his influence across jazz, across American music and around the world has such continuing stature that he is one of the few who can easily be mentioned with Stravinsky, Picasso and Joyce. His life was the embodiment of one who moves from rags to riches, from anonymity to internationally imitated innovator. Louis Daniel Armstrong supplied revolutionary language that took on such pervasiveness that it became commonplace, like the light bulb, the airplane, the telephone."

    -- Stanley Crouch; Time Magazine; June 8, 1998


".. Armstrong's improvisational verve and technical virtuosity defined jazz ... and his engaging personality and ever-present grin made him a natural as the international ambassador of jazz, America's greatest gift to the world"

    -- Life Magazine ~ The 100 People Who Made The Millenium


"Louis is not dead, for his music is and will remain in the hearts and minds of countless millions of the world's peoples, and in the playing of hundreds of thousands of musicians who have come under his influence."

    -- Dizzy Gillespie; July 17, 1971



“The memory of things gone is important to a jazz musician. Things like old folks singing in the moonlight in the back yard on a hot night or something said long ago.”
“When I go to the Gate, I'll play a duet with Gabriel. Yeah, we'll play 'Sleepy Time Down South' and 'Hello, Dolly!.' Then he can blow a couple that he's been playing up there all the time.”
“I got a simple rule about everybody. If you don't treat me right / shame on you!”

Not too slow, not too fast. Kind of half-fast.
-- Louis Armstrong
“There is two kinds of music the good and bad. I play the good kind.”
“Never play a thing the same way twice”
“If ya ain't got it in ya, ya can't blow it out”
“If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know.”
Louis Armstrong publicity photo
Louis Armstrong

Perhaps the most significant departure from New Orleans was in 1922 when Louis Armstrong was summoned to Chicago by King Oliver, his mentor. Louis Armstrong swung with a great New Orleans feeling, but unlike any of his predecessors, his brilliant playing led a revolution in jazz that replaced the polyphonic ensemble style of New Orleans with development of the soloist's art. The technical improvement and popularity of phonograph records spread Armstrong's instrumental and vocal innovations and make him internationally famous. His Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings (1925-28), including his celebrated work with Earl Hines, were quite popular and are milestones in the progression of the music.



BRASS BANDS & Second Lines:

The tradition of the brass instruments used in jazz came primarily from Germany, Italy, and Ireland, where brass marching parades had long been celebrating feast days.

The repertoire of brass bands has shown a determined flexibility, absorbing new currents of popular song, while holding the traditional sound solidly in place.

Brass marching bands first became all the rage in the late 1880s with brass bands cropping up all across America. New Orleans music was also impacted by this popular musical forms that proliferated throughout the United States following the Civil War.

April 24, 2008 in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana the day before Jazz Fest began.
The New Birth Brass Band is at the forefront of the recent New Orleans brass band renaissance. The band fuses hip-hop, Mardi Gras Indian chants, funk, and modern jazz with age old traditional sounds. Although young, the members of New Birth are all jazz veterans and have played with everyone from Wynton Marsalis to Dizzy Gillespie.

 In the 1880s New Orleans brass bands, such as the Excelsior and Onward, typically consisted of formally trained musicians reading complex scores for concerts, parades, and dances.

The roots of jazz were largely nourished in the African-American community but became a broader phenomenon that drew from many communities and ethnic groups in New Orleans. "Papa" Jack Laine's Reliance Brass Bands, for instance, were integrated before segregation pressures increased. Laine's bands, which were active around 1890 to 1913, became the most well known of the white ragtime bands. Laine was a promoter of the first generation of white jazzmen.

A special collaborative relationship developed between brass bands in New Orleans and mutual aid and benevolent societies. Mutual aid and benevolent societies were common among many ethnic groups in urban areas in the 19th century. After the Civil War such organizations took on special meaning for emancipated African-Americans who had limited economic resources. The purposes of such societies were to "help the sick and bury the dead" - important functions because blacks were generally prohibited from getting commercial health and life insurance and other services.

While many organizations in New Orleans used brass bands in parades, concerts, political rallies, and funerals, African-American mutual aid and benevolent societies had their own expressive approach to funeral processions and parades, which continues to the present. At their events, community celebrants would join in the exuberant dancing procession. The phenomena of community participation in parades became known as "the second line," second, that is, to the official society members and their contracted band.

Other community organizations also used New Orleans-style "ragtime" brass bands. Mardi Gras walking clubs, notably the Jefferson City Buzzards and the Cornet Carnival Club (still in existence), were employers of the music.


Consisting of brass instruments and sometimes percussion, the music originated in the 1820s. The growth of brass bands was closely linked to the rise of industry, and the success of the movement has been bound up with contests.
The tradition of brass bands in New Orleans, Louisiana dates to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Traditionally, New Orleans brass bands could feature various instrumentations, often including trumpets, trombones, saxophones, sousaphones and percussion. The music played by these groups was often a fusion between European-styled military band music and African folk music brought to the Americas by west African slaves and the idiom played a significant role in the development of traditional Jazz. Early brass bands include the Eureka Brass Band, the Onward Brass Band, the Excelsior Brass Band, the Tuxedo Brass Band, the Young Tuxedo Brass Band, the Camelia Brass Band, and the Olympia Brass Band.
The Spirit of New Orleans Brass Band performs at the French Quarter Festival, New Orleans, Louisiana, 11 April 2008.


In the 1970s and 1980s, the New Orleans brass band tradition experienced a renaissance, with bands breaking away from traditional stylings and adding elements of funk, hip hop, and bop to their repertoires. Some notable exponents of this style of brass band include the Rebirth Brass Band, the Soul Rebels Brass Band, Youngblood Brass Band and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, though a number of groups outside the United States have begun playing this style of music. The style has moved beyond New Orleans and can now be found in such places as Japan with the Black Bottom Brass Band, the Netherlands with the Happy Feet Brassband and the Hurricane Brass Band, Boston, Massachusetts with the Hot Tamale Brass Band and Madison, Wisconsin with Mama Digdown's Brass Band and Youngblood Brass Band.

A well-known use of these bands is for the New Orleans jazz funeral.

Combinations of 3 & 4 values all give the same notes
The linking factor between all the traditional brass instruments (excluding trombones) is that they have 3 (or occasionally 4) valves and that the same combination of valves produce the same written note on each instrument. This is not to say that each instrument produces the same physical note in response to a given valve combination but that the combination of the instrument's tuning and the key in which the music is written for any one part allows the player to use the same valve combination for an 'A' on both the cornet and the Eb Bass. Obviously this simplifies teaching and the transfer from one instrument to another, indeed, many players will happily change instruments at short notice to fill gaps in the band.

Brass bands have a long tradition of competition between bands, often based around local industry and communities. British-style brass bands are widespread throughout Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and continental Europe and are also found in North America. Annual competitions are held in these countries to select champion bands at various levels of musical competence.

The traditional British brass band consists of 27 players who play three basic types of instrument - a valved metal wind instrument ; the trombone; and percussion. The normal line up is as follows:-


Soprano Cornet










Flugel Horn



Bass Trombone


Tenor Horns



Eb Basses (tubas)





BBb Basses (tubas)






The Salvation Army, part of the Christian church, has deployed brass bands since 1878 and they continue to be an integral part of that organisation. The most well-known Salvation Army brass band is The International Staff Band which is based in London. The cornet section of a Salvation Army brass band does not include a 'Repiano' and instead of 2nd & 3rd cornets there are 1st & 2nd cornets.

Treme Brass Band: Gimme My Money Back
by Blake Leyh dot Com

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band have been at the forefront of the Brass Band revival in New Orleans over the last twenty-five years, but The Treme Brass Band are the real heart of the scene, and Uncle Lionel Batiste beats his bass drum at the heart of the heart, along with Kirk Joseph on sousaphone and

Courtesy GNOTCC, Michael Terranova and

 Benny Jones on snare. The Treme are best seen and heard in the street at a second line parade, or at Donna's Bar and Grill on Rampart, but the 1996 CD that this is the title track from is the next best thing. It also includes a fantastic version of The Old Rugged Cross, which was the inspiration for my own cover version on the CD Shadow Economy in 2000.

This is a music blog curated by Blake Leyh. Music of interest is put here for your listening pleasure. It is updated regularly. Only five mp3 files are active at any given time; when a new file is added, the oldest one is taken away. More Info...




 , (15:45 min.)
New Orleans, Louisiana, 2000
Filmed and edited by Keith Reynaud, Jr.
The story of the Rebirth Brass Band in the context of the New Orleans Brass Band and Jazz Funeral Traditions.
Published: 20 December 2006.




"Those parades were really tremendous things, the drums would start off, the trumpets and trombones rolling into something like 'Stars and Stripes' or 'The National Anthem' and everybody would strut off down the street, the bass drum player twirling his beater in the air, the snare drummer throwing his sticks up and bouncing them off the ground, the kids jumping and hollering, the grand marshall and his aides in their expensive uniforms moving along, dignified women on top of everybody - the second line, armed with sticks and bottles and baseball bats and all forms of ammunition to fight the foe when they reached the dividing line. It's a funny thing that the second line marched at the head of the parade but that's the way it had to be in New Orleans."
--Jelly Roll Morton to Alan Lomax
Jelly Roll Morton sitting at a piano
Jelly Roll Morton
Jelly Roll Morton, another New Orleans giant, also made a series of influential recordings while based in Chicago in the 1920s. Morton's compositions added sophistication and a structure for soloists to explore, and his work set the stage for the Swing era.

Jelly Roll Morton was the first to get the very improvisational music of jazz on paper, translating the tunes into musical notation.

The instruments used were often acquired second-hand at pawn shops, where members of the military would often sell their marching band instruments.
A typical band might consist of one soprano cornet in E♭; nine B♭ cornets; one B♭ flugelhorn; three E♭ tenor horns; two B♭ baritones; two B♭ euphoniums; three trombones; and four basses, two each in E♭ and BB♭.

Tenor horn: the smallest of the tuba-like instruments in that its bell points upwards when played instead if forward like a cornet.
Baritone: slightly larger than the tenor horn, is tuned in the key of Bb, and again mainly provides the filling or rhythmical parts of the music.

Flugelhorn: looks like a large cornet and provides the link between the cornet and horn sections. It is tuned in the key of Bb and has a beautiful mellow tone which is best displayed in the haunting melody solos written typically for this instrument.

Euphonium: second principal solo instrument of the band. Larger again than the Baritone it is also tuned in Bb. This instrument is always on the go! Its parts often double up the cornet melodies in a lower register whilst also providing the 'twiddly bit' infill whilst the cornets are resting. At other times the Euphonium plays a counter melody or helps out the Bass section.
Soprano cornet: the highest playing instrument in the band having less tubing than the normal Cornet and plays in the key of Eb

Tenor trombone Their strident glissandos are characteristic of many marches and colourful pieces.
 The Bass Trombone is normally tuned in the key of F and provides a link with the Bass section.

provide the background 'oompah' of the bass beat




Early Jazz  Buddy Bolden,Charles "Buddy" Bolden (September 6, 1877 - November 4, 1931) was an African
Buddy Bolden
 The legendary Buddy Bolden lived and played across St. Charles Avenue from the Garden District. 2309 and 2527 First St., Uptown.

 American cornetist and is regarded by contemporaries as a key figure in the development of a New Orleans style of rag-time music which later came to be known as jazz. A top draw in New Orleans from about 1900 until 1907, when he was incapacitated by schizophrenia. He left no known surviving recordings, but he was known for his very loud sound and constant improvisation.

He has been called the father of jazz. and is credited with creating a looser, more improvised version of ragtime and adding blues to it; Bolden's band was said to be the first to have brass instruments play the blues. He was also said to have taken ideas from gospel music heard in uptown African American Baptist churches.

Instead of imitating other cornetists, Bolden played music he heard "by ear" and adapted it to his horn. In doing so, he created an exciting and novel fusion of rag-time, black sacred music, marching-band music and rural blues. He rearranged the typical New Orleans dance band of the time to better accommodate the blues; string instruments became the rhythm section, and the front-line instruments were clarinets, trombones, and Bolden's cornet. Bolden was known for his powerful, loud, "wide open"

Some of the songs first associated with his band such as the traditional song "Careless Love" and "My Bucket's Got a Hole in It", are still standards. Bolden often closed his shows with the original number "Get Out of Here and Go Home", although for more "polite" gigs the last number would be "Home! Sweet Home!".

One of the most famous Bolden numbers is a song called "Funky Butt" one of the earliest references to the concept of "funk" in popular music, now a musical subgenre unto itself.

I thought I heard Buddy Bolden say,
Funky-butt, funky-butt, take it away.

File:Bolden band.gif
The Bolden Band around 1905
 Freddie Keppard, (February 27, 1890 - July 15, 1933)  Keppard's band became the Original Creole Orchestra which toured the Vaudeville circuit, giving other parts of the USA a first taste of the music that was not yet known as "jazz" Keppard's style is much more raggy compared to Oliver's blues tinged style. While Oliver had more admirers, to some extent preference was a matter of taste; Jelly Roll Morton, Lil Hardin Armstrong, and Wellman Braud all thought Keppard superior to Oliver.

Several musicians with clear memories of Buddy Bolden said that Freddie Keppard sounded the most like Bolden of anyone who recorded.


Buddie Petit, 1916

Buddie Petit, 1916

Buddy Petit (ca. 1890?-4 July 1931) was a highly regarded early jazz cornetist. By the early 1910s he was one of the top horn players in the new style of music not yet generally known as "jazz". He took Freddie Keppard's place in the Eagle Band (a place earlier held by Buddy Bolden) when Keppard left town.

Buddie Petit was known as a hard-drinking, fun loving man who played cornet with great virtuosity and inventiveness. He was briefly lured to Los Angeles, California by Jelly Roll Morton and Bill Johnson in 1917, but objected to being told to dress and behave differently than he was accustomed to back home, and promptly returned to New Orleans where he seldom left the Gulf Coast.

Emmett Hardy   (June 12, 1903 - June 16, 1925) was an early jazz cornet player and one of the best regarded New Orleans musicians of his generation. He.was in the original incarnation of the New Orleans Rhythm Kings (or NORK) under the direction of Bee Palmer. Some New Orleans musicians remembered as a musical highlight of their lives a 1919 cutting contest where after long and intense struggle Hardy succeeded in outplaying Louis Armstrong. It is a great regret that no recording of his playing survives.
Joe "King" Oliver (December 19, 1885 - April 10, 1938) was a jazz cornet player and bandleader. He was particularly noted for his playing style, pioneering the use of mutes. Oliver played cornet in the New Orleans brass bands and dance bands and also in the city's red-light district, Storyville.
 The band he co-led with trombonist Kid Ory was considered New Orleans' hottest and best in the 1910s. In Chicago, as King Oliver and his Creole Jazz Band performing at the Royal Gardens (later renamed the Lincoln Gardens) he was widely hailed as the "king.". Virtually all the members of this band went on to notable solo careers. Personnel were Oliver on cornet, his protegé Louis Armstrong, second cornet, Baby Dodds, drums, Johnny Dodds, clarinet, Lil Hardin (later Armstrong's wife), on piano, Honore Dutrey on trombone, and Bill Johnson, bass and banjo. Louis Armstrong and King Oliver
Oliver was not a good businessman and eventually ended up in  in Savannah, Georgia, where he worked as a janitor at Wimberly's Recreation Hall (526-528 West Broad Street) and died in poverty at a rooming house (508 Montgomery Street).
 He was the mentor and teacher of Louis Armstrong. Two of Armstrong's most famous recordings, "West End Blues" and "Weather Bird", were Oliver compositions. Armstrong called Oliver "Papa Joe" and referred to Oliver as his idol and inspiration all his life. In Armstrong's autobiography, "Satchmo - My Life in New Orleans", he writes about Oliver:

It was my ambition to play as he did. I still think that if it had not been for Joe Oliver, Jazz would not be what it is today. He was a creator in his own right.




See larger image

There was also a growing national interest in syncopated musical styles influenced by African-American traditions, such as cakewalks and minstrel tunes. By the 1890s syncopated piano compositions called ragtime created a popular music sensation, and brass bands began supplementing the standard march repertoire with ragtime pieces.
Statue of Al Hirt in the French Quarter. He is playing with Pete Fountain, and Fats Domino
"Al Hirt"
Samples from Memories Of You from "Horn A Plenty" 1962 and Keep On The Firing Line from "Struttin' Down Royal Street" 1967.

On February 8, 1970, while performing in a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, Hirt was injured while riding on a float. It is popularly believed that he was struck in the mouth by a thrown piece of concrete or brick. Factual documentation of the details of the incident is sparse, consisting primarily of claims made by Hirt after the incident. Whatever the actual cause of his injuries, Hirt underwent surgery and had to wait a while and then practice slowly to make a return to the club scene. This incident was parodied in a Saturday Night Live skit from their second season Mardi Gras special, the "Let's Hit Al Hirt in the Mouth with a Brick Contest"


"But the French, ah the French! They came here full blown with life and love, not refugees. God-centered and narrow; but adventurers, gamblers, fat with a culture that made living a love affair of the senses, and secure in the knowledge that while sin was the work of the devil, its nearest occasions were the particular art of the French."

-- Phil Johnson
News director, editorial writer
WWL-TV, New Orleans



Dixieland or Hot Jazz
Dixieland music sometimes referred to as Hot jazz or New Orleans jazz is a style of jazz which developed in New Orleans at the start of the 20th century, and was spread to Chicago and New York City by New Orleans bands in the 1910s. Dixieland jazz combined brass band marches, French Quadrilles, ragtime and blues with collective, polyphonic improvisation by trumpet (or cornet), trombone, and clarinet over a "rhythm section" of piano, guitar, banjo, drums, and a double bass or tuba.

The definitive Dixieland sound is created when one instrument, usually the trumpet, plays the melody or a recognizable paraphrase or variation on it, and the other instruments of the "front line" improvise around that melody. This creates a more polyphonic sound than the extremely regimented big band sound or the unison melody of bebop. The swing era of the 1930s led to the end of many Dixieland Jazz musicians' careers. The advent of bebop in the 1940s, saw the majority of younger black players move-on although the music of Louis Armstrong is often incorporated into their repertoires.

 The first was ragtime, the formal outgrowth of the decades-old African-American improvisational practice of "ragging" tunes -- syncopating and rearranging them to provide livelier, more danceable versions. Created by black musicians in the cities of the Midwest, who had found a way to recreate something like the percussive sound of the banjo on the piano, ragtime drew upon everything that had gone before -- spirituals and minstrel tunes, European folk melodies, operatic arias and military marches -- all filled with broken chords and set to fresh rhythms. Spread first by itinerant pianists, and then by the sale of sheet music, ragtime caught the fancy of young dancers all over the country who loved it all the more because -- since it encouraged young men and women to dance close together as couples rather than in groups -- their parents did not. "Ragtime is syncopation gone mad," the editor of Etude magazine would write, "and its victims, in my opinion, can be treated successfully only like the dog with rabies, with a dose of lead. Whether it is simply a passing phase of our decadent art culture or an infectious disease which has come to stay, like leprosy, time alone can tell."

Well-known jazz standard songs from the Dixieland era, are "Basin Street Blues" and "When the Saints Go Marching In" as well as "Muskrat Ramble," "Struttin' With Some Barbecue," "Tiger Rag," "Dippermouth Blues," "Milenberg Joys,"  "Tin Roof Blues," "At the Jazz Band Ball," "Panama," "I Found a New Baby," and "Royal Garden Blues"

We are blessed with timeless recordings of dixieland music by King Oliver, Louis Armstrong Jelly Roll Morton , Original Dixieland Jazz Band, Fats Waller, James P. Johnson, New Orleans Rhythm Kings, Bix Beiderbecke,  Sidney Bechet, Clarence Williams, and others.

New Orleans-born musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet and all recalled the influence Bolden had on the direction of the music of New Orleans, and jazz itself.


Pete Fountain, (born July 3, 1930) is a popular New Orleans clarinetist who comes out of retirement every Mardi Gras day to lead his of The Half Fast Walking Club, marching Krewe on Mardi Gras Day. through the French Quarter. Fountain's clarinet work is noted for his sweet fluid tone. He has recorded over 100 LPs and CDs under his own name, some in the Dixieland style, many others with only peripheral relevance to any type of jazz. For many years of his career he was associated with trumpeter and bandleader.

Al Hirt (November 7, 1922 - April 27, 1999) whose virtuoso dexterity and fine tone on his instrument attracted national attention. Hirt had 22 different record albums on the Billboard Pop charts in the 1950s and 1960s. The albums Honey In The Horn and Cotton Candy were both in the top 10 best sellers for 1964, the same year Hirt scored a top hit single with his cover of Allen Toussaint's tune Java. In 1987 Hirt played a solo rendition of Ave Maria for Pope John Paul II's visit to New Orleans, a performance Hirt considered one of his most important.

Hirt's recording of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee was used as the theme song for the 1960s television series The Green Hornet, and again gained public attention in 2003 when it was used in the film Kill Bill.

Nicknames include "Al (He's the King!) Hirt", "Sugar Lips" (after one of his most popular pieces) and "The Round Mound of Sound". Al Hirt had 8 children, 10 grandchildren, and 6 great-grandchildren. In 1990, Al married Beverly Estabrook Essel, a friend of 40 years.



The contemporary New Orleans Brass Band styles, such as the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, The Primate Fiasco, the Hot Tamale Brass Band and the Rebirth Brass Band have combined traditional New Orleans brass band jazz with such influences as contemporary jazz, funk, hip hop, and rap.

New Orleans Traditional

The "New Orleans Traditional" revival movement began with the rediscovery of Bunk Johnson in 1942 and was extended by the founding of Preservation Hall in the French Quarter during the 1960s. Bands playing in this style use string bass and banjo in the rhythm section playing 4-to-the-bar and feature popular tunes and Gospel hymns that were played in New Orleans since the early 20th century such as "Ice Cream," "You Tell Me Your Dream," "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" and some tunes from the New Orleans brass band literature.


This New Orleans native comes from a musical family. His father is a pianist and jazz educator, and he has brothers who play saxophone, trombone, and drums. He was named after pianist Wynton Kelly, and got his first trumpet as a child from fellow Crescent City native Al Hirt. He studied both jazz and classical music while playing in local groups. At 18, he went to the Juilliard School in New York, and at 19 made his first recordings with Art Blakey and became one of the Jazz Messengers. In the early 1980s, he made headlines because he was playing acoustic jazz instead of fusion or funk like many of his contemporaries, and also recorded several classical albums. He decided to concentrate on a jazz career, and his success in that field led to many other young musicians joining him as "young lions" in the field of straightahead jazz. He formed his own smaller groups, and also became head of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. His views of musical history have made him a frequent figure of controversy, especially when he was prominently featured in the "Ken Burns' Jazz" series on public TV. However, his playing and compositional abilities are considerable, and he has been very active in promoting jazz education among young people. Also, his large-scale work "Blood on the Fields" was the first jazz work to receive a Pulitzer Prize for composition.



joined the ranks of others like  Harry Connick Jr., Irvin Mayfield and Nicholas Payton.

History of the Blues


Bessie Smith, singer




Robert Johnson, guitarist






Jazz Funerals by the Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs
Rejoice When You Die
The tradition arises from African spiritual practices, French and Spanish martial musical traditions, and uniquely African-American cultural influences. 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 caucasians. For much of the mid-20th century, the Catholic Church officially frowned on secular music at funerals, so for generations the tradition was largely confined to African American Protestant New Orleanians. After the 1960s it gradually started being practiced 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 & pleasure clubs or Carnival krewes who make a point of arranging for such funerals for members.

Before Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans African-American social aid and pleasure clubs numbered in the forties, and a different club “rolled” just about every Sunday except during the summer. While the parades were rarely advertised or well publicized, second line devotees would know the time and location of the route. Social aid and pleasure clubs are now struggling, but some are still parading. Those who love the tradition come out and bring a handkerchief to wipe away tears and to wave aloft. Club dues normally cost hundreds of dollars a year along with additional expenses for the sharp suits, shoes, and general finery that members wear.

New Orleans Jazz Funeral for tuba player Kerwin James

 Duration: 6:10 A traditional New Orleans Jazz Funeral for the late tuba player Kerwin James. He died in Oct. 2007. The reason for rocking the casket, it's so he can dance one last time.  For more videos, pics and New Orleans unique culture check from the videographer check out 

the two main aspects of the traditional jazz funeral: the Somber journey to the gravesite and the exuberant return from it

 In a traditional jazz funeral, the band meets at the church or funeral parlor where the dismissal services are being conducted. After the service, the band leads the procession slowly through the neighborhood. In a recent film, Jazz Funeral: From the Inside, Milton Batiste, the lead trumpeter in DeJean's Olympia Brass Band, observed that "as the procession heads through the neighborhood, you might see a black wreath hanging on the door where the deceased lived or worked." The mood is, generally somber, and the musical selections are taken from Christian hymns, such as "Free as a Bird" or "Just a Closer Walk With Thee," commonly sung in black Protestant churches. While playing the hymn(s), the musicians indulge in virtually no improvisation.

The distance the band walks today may be only a few blocks, since burial sites are not always within walking distance of the church or funeral parlor. If the cemetery is nearby, the band accompanies the procession to it. When the interment ceremony is completed, the band leads the procession from the gravesite without playing. When a respectful distance from the site has been reached, the lead trumpeter sounds a two-note preparatory riff to alert his fellow musicians. At this point, the drummers begin to play what has become known as the "second line" beat.

The band now sheds its solemnity in favor of music more conducive to lively, even joyous, activity on the part of family, friends and other celebrants -- the group affectionately known as the "second line." Out come umbrellas, many of them elaborately decorated, that seem to be more about styling and profiling than protection from nature's elements.

When a returning brass band is heard in the distance, that sound announces the impending arrival of a public celebration. Those who are willing and able will fall in behind the band, next to the band, between the band members, affecting the body language of a dance, a strut, a "booty bounce" to the music of the second-line beat.

One of the more popular songs of choice is "Didn't He Ramble?!" The title and the lyrics are suggestive of a free-spirited man who reaped what he had sown and had a good time doing it. Another favorite, of course, is "When the Saints Go Marching In." Legend has it that "Saints" was a regular feature at prayer meetings and Sunday services; one day, some of the churchfolk heard a jazz band playing it returning from a funeral, and it was never sung again as a part of their church services.

Playing a very important role in the brass band is the grand marshal, who may be a band member or a member of the same social or benevolent club as the deceased. His demeanor -- head erect, expression solemn, dressed in a black tuxedo, while gloves, black hat held respectfully in his hand while taking slow but measured steps -- is crucial to the dignity of the procession on the way to the gravesite, and his jauntiness and energy set the tone for the band and the dancing second-liners alike on the return journey that announces to the community the good news that another soul has gone on home.

Much of this has changed, or is changing, now. Although the jazz funeral is very much a part of New Orleans' black culture, some of the younger brass band players are either unfamiliar with or indifferent to the traditional music. It is common to hear bands play popular songs of the day in place of the longtime standards handed down from the older musicians, and the stately march to the gravesite is becoming a thing of the past: Often now the livelier music begins at the church door. The newer bands generally are not attached to social and pleasure clubs. Moreover, whereas jazz funerals were traditionally for musicians and club members, today they are for anyone who can pay for them.

Since the 1970s, with the influence of the pop-funk music scene, brass bands like the Dirty Dozen, the Soul Rebels, Pinstrip, Algiers, Rebirth, and many other continually forming groups have carried the torch. Although the younger players do not always honor the music of the past, tradition and custom in New Orleans have themselves always been about improvising. In her essay "One More Last chance: Ritual and the Jazz Funeral," native New Orleanian and writer Brenda Marie Osbey puts it this way: "The ability not merely to adapt but to improvise is itself inherent in all out notions of tradition." The traditional jazz funeral expresses a recognition that there is something not only to mourn, but also to celebrate, even in death; the same truth applies to the ongoing metamorphosis of the jazz funeral custom itself.

The basic formula of a funeral was this:
  •  The brass band assembled with members of the burial association at the lodge hall or headquarters. There the procession formed, the grand marshal or marshal's headed the band, lodge standard-bearers next, and lodge members, loosely assembled behind.
  • The snare drummer would muffled his snares for the dirges and hymns.
  • The band would play a hymn (Lead me savior, In the sweet bye and bye, In the upper garden) in dirge tempo, to establish a mood of mourning and solemnity.
  • The procession moved in march tempo to the funeral home, church, or home where the body waited, playing familiar hymns and other pieces as medium-tempo 2/4 marches.
  •  At the church the band played an appropriate hymn in solemn chorale style.
  • Than the band waited outside the church, not playing at the time, for the service to conclude.
  • After the service, the band reassembled and played a dirge (like Fallen heroes, Nearer my God to thee)) to signal the struggles, the hardships, the ups and downs of life, while the body was carried from the church to the hearse.
The procession would reformed and moved with the hearse to the cemetery. The band played dirges and hymns in slow 4/4 dirge tempo (In the Garden, Over in the Gloryland, What a friend we have in Jesus

- At the cemetery (or at a predetermined point, if the cemetery were too distant for the cortege to walk), the band moved aside, forming the procession into a double rank to create a corridor through which the hearse passed. The snare drummer played a long roll.

This moment was called “turning the body loose”

  • - According to the wishes of the church and the family, the band played a hymn at the graveside (Just a closer walk with thee). The minister might preach again and conduct hymn-singing. A trumpeter of the band might be asked to play “taps” as a solo.

  • - Outside the cemetery, the band regrouped while rites of interment were performed. The snare drummer retightened his snares and started a cadence at a bright march tempo.

  • At this time jazz tunes were popularly supposed to reflect the character of the deceased and his family.
    Notorious rounders were treated with Oh, didn’t he ramble or I’ll be glad when you’re dead, you rascal you. In later years purportedly naughty widows were admonished with Oh, lady be good.

  • - Once the band had moved a respectful distance from the cemetery, it played marches and popular tunes. This segment of the procession satisfied second liners and association members accompanying the band, signaled the obsequy’s end, and formed a final act of celebration.

  • - back at the lodge hall the band dispersed, to turn home or stop for refreshments inside the hall.


The wake
When someone dies, the community gathers to say farewell, a cutting loose of the soul from earthly ties. The ceremony begins at the wake, at the home of the deceased or inside the funeral home.

A dirge is a somber song expressing mourning or grief, appropriate for performance at a funeral.
Word history: The history of the word dirge illustrates how a word with neutral connotations, such as direct, can become emotionally charged because of a specialized use. The Latin word dīrige is a form of the verb dīrigere, “to direct, guide,” that is used in uttering commands. In the Office of the Dead dīrige is the first word in the opening of the antiphon for the first nocturn of Matins: “Dirige, Domine, Deus meus, in conspectu tuo viam meam,” “Direct, O Lord, my God, my way in thy sight.” The part of the Office of the Dead that begins with this antiphon was named Dīrige in Ecclesiastical Latin. This word with this meaning was borrowed into English as dirige, first recorded in a work possibly written before 1200. Dirige was then extended to refer to the chanting or reading of the Office of the Dead as part of a funeral or memorial service. In Middle English the word was shortened to dirge, although it was pronounced as two syllables. After the Middle Ages the word took on its more general senses of “a funeral hymn or lament” and “a mournful poem or musical composition,” and developed its one-syllable pronunciation.

These include the wake of inspirational gospel tunes, followed by the dirges, as the crowd accompanies the casket en route to the final resting place, and the joyful sendoff as the preacher cuts loose the body and the soul of the parishioner goes on home to be with the Lord.

A funeral march or dead march is a march, usually in a minor key, in a slow "simple duple" metre, imitating the solemn pace of a funeral procession.

The Jazz Funeral
Originally printed in The Soul of New Orleans

One of the more distinguished aspects of New Orleans culture is the jazz funeral. Architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe noted in 1819 that New Orleans jazz funerals were "peculiar to New Orleans alone among all American cities." The late jazzman Danny Barker, writing in his book Bourbon Street Black, noted the funeral is seen as "a major celebration. The roots of the jazz funeral date back to Africa. Four centuries ago, the Dahomeans of Benin and the Yoruba of Nigeria, West Africa were laying the foundation for one of today's most novel social practices on the North American Continent, the jazz funeral."

The secret societies of the Dahomeans and Yoruba people assured fellow tribesmen that a proper burial would be performed at the time of death. To accomplish this guarantee, resources were pooled to form what many have labeled an early form of insurance.

When slaves were brought to America, the idea of providing a proper burial to your fellow brother or sister remained strong. As time passed, these same concepts that were rooted in African ideology became one of the basic principles of the social and pleasure club. As did many fraternal orders and lodges, the social and pleasure club guaranteed proper burial conditions to any member who passed. These organizations were precursors to debit insurance companies and the concept of burial insurance.

The practice of having music during funeral processions, Danny Barker said, was added to the basic African pattern of celebration for most aspects of life, including death. As the brass band became increasingly popular during the early 18th century, they were frequently called on to play processional music. Eileen Southern in The Music of Black American wrote, "On the way to the cemetery it was customary to play very slowly and mournfully a dirge, or an 'old Negro spiritual' such as 'Nearer My God to Thee,' but on the return from the cemetery, the band would strike up a rousing, 'When the Saints Go Marching In,' or a ragtime song such as 'Didn't He Ramble.' Sidney Bechet, the renowned New Orleans jazzman, after observing the celebrations of the jazz funeral, stated, "Music here is as much a part of death as it is of life."
2nd Line Processionals
Processionals are an integral part of African culture and, in New Orleans, the second line is the archetypal expression of celebration. The second line is usually associated, outside of the area, with the jazz funeral tradition, which is only one place where it occurs. There are a variety of first lines - marching clubs, Mardi Gras Indian gangs, funerals, brass bands, and a variety of other, some newly created, celebrations. The name, Second Line, describes the followers of the first line. These are the drummers, dancers and others who follow the primary activity and give it support. The second line and its reflection of Louisiana's Senegambian connection links us to a processional dance called the Saba.

The line's movement is full of improvisation, a characteristic that links it to the processional formats of the Rara and Junkanoo traditions of the Caribbean and the Samba societies of Brazil. Each processional is reflective of regional developments born of environment and availability of decorative materials.


Band on the run in New Orleans
Police have cracked down on funeral processions, a time-honored cultural tradition in the historic black neighborhood of Treme. But musicians vow to play on.
By Larry Blumenfeld Oct-2007 for
Katy Reckdahl, a reporter for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, had rushed to catch up with the Monday-evening procession when her 2-year-old son Hector heard tubas in the distance. What she didn't expect was a sudden flood of patrol cars, sirens blaring. Her front-page, full-banner-headline report two days later described police running into the crowd, grabbing at horn players' mouthpieces, and trying to seize drumsticks out of hands. "The confrontations spurred cries in the neighborhood about over-reaction and disproportionate enforcement by the police, who had often turned a blind eye to the traditional memorial ceremonies," she wrote. "Still others say the incident is a sign of a greater attack on the cultural history of the old city neighborhood by well-heeled newcomers attracted to Tremé by the very history they seem to threaten."On her New Orleans Renovation blog, Laureen Lentz wrote recently, "Since Katrina, the Historic Faubourg Tremé Association has gathered a lot of steam. Our neighborhood is changing as people have begun to realize that this area is prime, non-flooded real estate ... So much is happening in Tremé, it's hard to convince people that aren't here. You have to see it to believe it."
In April, a federal lawsuit on behalf of a consortium of social aid and pleasure clubs, aided by the American Civil Liberties Union, protested the city's hiking of police security fees -- triple or more from pre-Katrina rates -- for second-line parades held September through May. The suit invoked the First Amendment right to freedom of speech and expression, claiming that parade permit schemes "effectively tax" such expression. "Should the law not be enjoined," the complaint stated, "there is very little doubt that plaintiff's cultural tradition will cease to exist."
At a street-corner press conference a few days after the musicians' arrests, Jerome Smith, who runs the Treme Community Center just a block from that scene, recounted the history of an embattled neighborhood. He invoked the memory of heavy-handed police intimidation at the 2005 St. Joseph's night gathering of Mardi Gras Indians, after which Allison "Tootie" Montana, the "chief of chiefs," famously collapsed and fell dead of a heart attack while testifying at a city council meeting. He referenced the "open scar" of nearby Louis Armstrong Park, for which the city demolished 13 square blocks of the Tremé. He spoke of how, in 1969, the creation of Interstate 10 replaced the stately oak trees of Claiborne Avenue, the neighborhood's main thoroughfare, with concrete pillars.
Andrews also figured in "Shake the Devil Off," filmmaker Peter Entell's chronicle of a particularly cruel twist in modern Tremé history: Six months after Katrina, the Archdiocese of New Orleans decided to close the neighborhood's St. Augustine church and to remove its pastor. The historic church was founded in 1841 by slaves and free people of color. After a 19-day rectory sit-in, the parish was restored, provisionally, though its long-term fate remains in question. Near the film's climax, after footage of Jerome Harris and Jesse Jackson speaking to a crowd, the camera moved in on Andrews, who launched into "I"ll Fly Away," offered as call-to-arms rather than memorial.
"Reminds me of recent stories about the gentrification of Harlem. From NPR last month: "If you happen to be in Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem on a Saturday late afternoon or evening during the summer, you can drop in on the neighborhood's African drumming circle. Longtime residents and African drumming enthusiasts have held an informal, hours-long, drum circle there for more than 30 years. But new residents of the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood are not as keen on the pulsating rhythmic sessions that sometimes last more than four hours— and are complaining, loudly. If you want to move into a neighborhood like the Treme or Harlem, you should be willing to accept the traditions and culture of that neighborhood."
African-American social aid and pleasure clubs aren’t just about parading, however. They grew out of organizations of the mid to late 1800s called benevolent societies, which many different ethnic groups in New Orleans formed. Serving a purpose that today has largely been supplanted by insurance companies, benevolent societies would help dues-paying members defray health care costs, funeral expenses, and financial hardships. They also fostered a sense of unity in the community, performed charitable works, and hosted social events. Benevolent societies always had strong support in the African-American population, and some scholars trace the roots of the African-American societies back to initiation associations of West African cultures from where the majority of New Orleans blacks originally came.
The "2nd Line"
The funerals in New Orleans are sad until the body is finally lowered into the grave and the reverend says, "ashes to ashes and dust to dust." After the brother was six feet under the ground the band would strike up one of those good old tunes like "Didn't He Ramble", and all the people would leave their worries behind. Particularly when King Oliver blew that last chorus in high register.

Once the band starts, everybody starts swaying from one side of the street to the other, especially those who drop in and follow the ones who have been to the funeral. These people are known as 'the second line', and the may be anyone passing along the street who wants to hear the music. The spirit hits them and they follow along to see what's happening.

---Louis Armstrong, "Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans"



The Backstreet Museum, once the home of the Blandin Funeral Home, houses the city's largest collection of Mardi Gras Indian costumes. Much photos andDownload video footage of Mardi Gras Indians, jazz funerals and second lines. Located at 1116 St. Claude Avenue and is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. -5 p.m. Admission is $5 per person. For directions to the museum or more information, call (504) 522-4806 or visit:



"jazz funerals".
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 funk influenced style than the older traditional jazz New Orleans style. (See also: Let Me Do My Thang: Rebirth Brass Band- a documentary filmed and edited by Keith Reynaud, Jr.)
"Mardi Gras translated nicely into a freedom celebration, a day to commemorate their own history and spirit, to be arrogant, to circumvent the hostile authorities, to overturn the established order, and now and then to seek revenge."

Mardi Gras Indians (Pelican Publishing Company, 1994), by Michael P. Smith

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[Mardi Gras Indians] embody black New Orleans's insistence on connecting with its past--in a society that did everything possible to erase the people and their history. To the extent of giving them one-way tickets out of town to forty-some different states in 2005.
I think we hear the influence of the Caribbean strongly in the music of the Mardi Gras Indians. But we also see the influence of the Gulf--what they do seems in some ways like the rumba of Havana and Matanzas, which was the property of stevedores and dockworkers that were in communication with New Orleans. I went to see a Wild Magnolias practice this spring, one of their Sunday practices the week before Super Sunday. I was privileged to witness four sets of battle dances. It was one of the most beautiful things I've seen. It was easier to hear in a practice context than out in the street, because they had this stationary battery of percussion. When they play gigs in clubs their music sounds more like electric funk, but this was just their percussion arsenal. And what they're playing all the time, for hours, is what they call in Spanish cinquillo, something you hear all over the Caribbean: BOM-ba-BOM-ba-BOM. BOM-ba-BOM-ba-BOM. All night.

---Ned Sublette

Expect the Best. Respect the Rest

 ---Kermit Ruffins


The Cotton Centennial is credited by some historians as indirectly providing the raw inspiration for the Mardi Gras Indians' use of the "Indian costume" motif. In 1884 to 1885, concurrent with theDownload Centennial, the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show wintered into New Orleans, and, according to cultural documentarian Michael Smith, "performed regularly, over a four month period, before large crowds in a popular black recreation area known as Oakland Park and Riding Stables (now the New Orleans Country Club)." Smith and others speculate that "50 to 60 Plains Indians, including four chiefs, were likely on the streets in New Orleans in their native dress during Mardi Gras 1885." Historians who accept Smith's thesis argue the Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show was the genesis of the Mardi Gras Indians. They specifically point to the name of Creole Wild West to support their argument. Unfortunately, for this point of view, none of the Mardi Gras Indians recall any references to Buffalo Bill's show and some of the Indians, Tootie Montana included, resent the implication that the masking Indian was started by or inspired by Buffalo Bill's show.

This excerpt was originally published as an exhibit catalogue by the New Orleans Museum of Art for the 1997 exhibit, "He’s the Prettiest:" A Tribute to Big Chief Allison "Tootie" Montana’s 50 Years of Mardi Gras Indian Suiting. Kalamu ya Salaam is a writer/editor/filmmaker and founder of NOMMO Literary Society




Mardi Gras Indians have been parading in New Orleans at least since the mid-19th century, possibly before. The tradition was said to have originated from an affinity between Africans and Indians as minorities within the dominant culture, and blacks' circumventing some of the worst racial segregation laws by representing themselves as Indians. An appearance in town of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in the 1880s was said to have drawn considerable attention and increased the interest in masking as Indians for Mardi Gras.

The Mardi Gras Indian tribes (or "gangs") of New Orleans are community-based, socio-cultural institutions over a century old. Like blues, jazz, and other deeply rooted examples of African-American culture, "Injuns" (as neighborhood people affectionately refer to them) date back to the post-reconstruction era. Exactly when and why the colorfully costumed, neighborhood-based gangs started is shrouded in uncertainty but most accounts point to the late 1800s, a significant period of racist repression and outright terror. On September 14, 1874, "Ex-Confederates of the newly formed White League barricaded streets, attacked, and killed many of the interracial Metropolitan Police, and seized the state capitol, which, at the time, was the old St. Louis Hotel. " 1 The Leaguers temporarily installed city officers--within three weeks they were removed. Although they were unable to dominate militarily after the infamous battle, this did mark the beginning of the hey day of segregation in a city which had known slavery under the French and Spanish but which had also always been racially mixed and had also had a significant element of free Blacks.

On a more positive note, 1884 to 1885 marked the celebration of a world's fair, the Cotton Centennial Exposition, which historian Leonard Huber assessed "while not a financial success, restored to New Orleans a feeling that the city was at last recovering its former commercial importance.2

These two events are often considered seminal elements in the founding of Mardi Gras Indians. The structures of Jim Crow ensured that the Indians would be a phenomenon that existed cocooned  within predominately Black and/or mixed Black/immigrant residential neighborhoods. There would be no Mardi Gras Indian activity up and down Canal Street, St. Charles Avenue or within the riverfront area of the French Quarter. During the 1880s not only the Mardi Gras Indians but also many other benevolent societies, particularly the neighborhood-based Social Aid & Pleasure Clubs (SA&PC) were also founded. This was a period of organizing within the Black community both for self-defense (both literal terms of withstanding segregationist terror and figuratively in terms of associations of mutual aid), as well as organizing for self-expression in formal as well as informal artistic expression--for example, here is when we witness the advent of professional bands, orchestras, and traveling theatrical/musical troupes.

A handbill for Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World'

The Cotton Centennial is credited by some historians as indirectly providing the raw inspiration for the Mardi Gras Indians' use of the "Indian costume" motif. In 1884 to 1885, concurrent with the Centennial, the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show wintered into New Orleans, and, according to cultural documentarian Michael Smith, "performed regularly, over a four month period, before large crowds in a popular black recreation area known as Oakland Park and Riding Stables (now the New Orleans Country Club)." They specifically point to the name of Creole Wild West to support their argument.

The New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian is a cultural phenomenon unique to New Orleans, Louisiana which participants believe pays respect and homage to the Native American for their assistance in escaping the tyranny of slavery.

When Caribbean communities started to spring up in New Orleans, their culture was incorporated into the suits, dances and music made by the "Indians".

In the late 19th century and early years of the 20th century, the tribes had a reputation for violent fights with each other. This part of Mardi Gras Indian history is immortalized in James Sugar Boy Crawford's Jock O Mo (better known and often covered as Iko Iko), based on their taunting chants.

St. Joseph's Night

"Why the Wild Indians of Mardi Gras have chosen St. Joseph's Night for their own may remain a mystery to this writer, but the people in the poverty-stricken neighborhoods where the Indians hold sway are well versed in the ritual and rush forward eagerly to join in the fun, forming the energetic "second line" that envelops, supports and propels the Wild Indian gangs to ever greater exploits of visual art, public song, and communal street dancing.

On St. Joseph's Night the Wild Indians and their followers wield flashlights against the darkness, illuminating their elaborate creations in beadwork, feathers and plumes inspired by the ceremonial suits and headdresses of the Plains Indians of the 19th century. They take to the middle of the street like it's Mardi Gras Day, dancing out into the night in search of rival Indian gangs and drawing their neighbors off their stoops and porches to wreathe them with smiles and shouts of recognition and joy.

"The Wild Indians range closer to home on St. Joseph's Night, they don't stay out so long, and their focus is strictly local. It's a holiday for the folks in the immediate vicinity, a very special treat that's well appreciated by all, but strangers are welcome too if they can find the action for themselves and comport themselves properly while enjoying the hospitality of the humble citizens of the area."

---John Sinclair

Big Chief Tootie Montana

Allison "Tootie" Montana was a long-time Big Chief of the Yellow Pocahontas tribe in New Orleans.

"You've got first chief, which is Big Chief; First Queen; you've got Second Chief and Second Queen; Third Chief and Third Queen. First, Second, and Third chiefs are supposed to have a queen with them. That's just tradition.I found them doing that. Your fourth chief is not called fourth chief, he's the Trail Chief. From there on it's just Indians, no title. You also have your Spy Boy, your Flag Boy and your Wild Man. Your Spy Boy is way out front, three blocks in front the chief. The Flag Boy is one block in front so he can see the Spy Boy up ahead and he can wave his flag to let the chief know what is going on. Today, they don't do like they used to. Today you're not going to see any Spy Boy with binoculars around his neck and a small crown so he can run. Today a Spy Boy looks like a chief and somebody carrying a big old stick. It's been years since I seen a proper flag. Today everybody has a chief stick. The Wild Man wearing the horns in there to keep the crowd open and to keep it clear. He's between the Flag Boy and the Chief."

" Making Indian and sewing Indian suits is a time-honored tradition in the Montana family." Tootie's great uncle, Becate Batiste,was a founder of one of the first recorded tribes in the city, the Creole Wild West. Tootie's father, Alfred Montana, also masked Indian for many years and was Big Chief of the Yellow Pocahontas. The tribe that Tootie leds for most of his life.

Tootie began to mask Indian in 1947 after seeing his father helping young men in the Eighth Ward. Big Chief, Tootie provided an invaluable perspective on the history and changes of masking Indian in New Orleans. In the old days he says, "Violence was frequently associated with the Mardi Gras Indians. After World War II Carnival began to change and the fighting stopped. Today, Mardi Gras Indians don't fight physically, they fight with their costumes, competing to see which can be the prettiest."

Tootie's Last Stand
"Rev. Dwight Webster, the missing initial speaker, arrived as this neighborhood activist was finishing. His lengthy presentation reviewed the many cultural and political aspects of the Mardi Gras Indians traditions, specifically honoring the escaped slaves and the many sympathetic Native American Tribes who often harbored these liberated people. He spoke about the use of Congo Square in the past hundreds of years as a black market and gathering center, but the Native American use of it thousands of years ago as sacred burial grounds. Essentially, the Reverend established firm case for the cultural significance as a key to libratory history for black New Orleans residents.

One councilman asked a question regarding the tendency of new residents or those not familiar with local black culture to misunderstand the traditions, which the Reverent used as an opportunity for more public education. Councilwoman Renee' Gill Pratt asked why it was referred to as a "parade," since it has never been a parade. She mentioned going to the events as a child and described the event as roaming through the neighborhoods. Reverend Webster confirmed that and emphasized the need for the Mardi Gras Indians to celebrate their traditions in the way that they choose. This was very clearly a renunciation of any permitting process and a demand for freedom for the people to celebrate as they choose.

Mayor Nagin stepped in at this point, to tell his story of watching the Mardi Gras Indians as a youth and his respect for this tradition. He reinforced the police version of the Saint Joseph's Night Assembly incidents as a misunderstanding. The rallying call, “Not under my watch,” was made, as the Mayor insisted that these misunderstandings would not take place again. Two men sitting near me both called out “It's BEEN happening!” But the Mayor continued, emphasizing the value of the Indians to tourists, residents and others. Tourists first. Seriously.

The next slated speaker was Chief Pepe-tan, who called for all the Mardi Gras Indian Chiefs to rise. They stood in the crowd and then made their way forward to surround the podium. They asked for the “Godfather of the Chiefs,” the Chief of Chiefs, Chief Allison 'Tootie' Montana was called forth to speak. With 83 years under his belt, this man came to the podium and reviewed interactions with the police over the past 52 years he’s been involved. Tootie astutely blew holes in all of Mayor Nagin’s exhortations by describing the police violence he has seen and experienced over his many years as Chief of the Yellow Pocahontas Tribe. He spoke about police tightening their billy-club straps as the Indians approached and his tribe’s strategy of simply walking through lines of police attempting to block their path. He spoke about a cop repeatedly trying to swing a club at his 10 year-old relative’s head and the young boy just barely missing a brutal skull injury. His last words were “This has got to stop,” and he turned from the podium, slumping towards the floor."

by Kate Scott for [140+ articles by the "committed white anti-racist"]

most recent:

His son, Big Chief Darryl Montana, held his father while officers rushed forward and began CPR. About 10 minutes later, paramedics rushed in. Councilman Oliver Thomas adjourned the meeting and led the room in prayer, asking God that this moment bring everyone together. Then chiefs in the room began singing the sacred Indian chant, "Indian Red." As paramedics carried the chief of chiefs up the aisle, the room was silent except for the hushed singing of the chiefs and the voice of his wife, Joyce, who followed the stretcher, telling her husband she wasn't ready for him to leave her.

Allison "Tootie" Montana, (December 16, 1922 – June 27, 2005) the "chief of chiefs," famously collapsed and fell dead of a heart attack on June 27 at the podium in New Orleans City Hall while addressing the City Council about the foul treatment of Mardi Gras Indians by police. With all his chiefs gathered around him, his last words were "This has got to stop!"

Many attended a three-hour mass July 9, followed by the colorful procession.

"Traditionally in New Orleans, jazz funerals maintain a slow, sorrowful pace until the point of "cutting the body loose," but the burial of a man of Montana's stature proved difficult to pace. The thousands of second-liners seemed to be busting at the seams, celebrating all the way to the cemetery, doing the samba-like second-line strut to the rhythm of the brass bands, twirling umbrellas, chanting old songs and shaking tambourines. Dozens of Mardi Gras Indian tribes, from Montana'sChief 'Tootie' Monta... Yellow Pocahontas, to the Golden Star Hunters to the Spirit of Fi YiYi, met each other in the streets enacting ritual war dances, stand-offs, and peace treaties. Even for New Orleans, it was a rare occasion to witness. On Mardi Gras Day, St. Joseph's Day and Super Sunday the Indians usually come out in large numbers. But on this day, even old Indians who hadn't masked in years came out in full regalia complete with new feathers and plumes on old suits for the funeral of funerals for the Chief of Chiefs."

---Marcel Diallo


Link Directory
He's the prettiest  He's The Prettiest: A Tribute To Big Chief Allison "Tootie" Montana's 50 Years Of Mardi Gras Indian Suiting
African stiltdancing and mystical masquerades
Since its inception in 1990
the company has pioneered the emergence of works by both African and African-American choreographers and has been dedicated to preserving the rich culture of Africa, the Caribbean, and Haiti which are all inherent in the make-up of New Orleans culture. Founders Shaka and Na'imah Zulu are committed to exposing audiences to the cultural arts of these nations in order to foster cross-cultural appreciation and understanding across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Bermuda.
Band on the run in New Orleans

By Larry Blumenfeld Oct-2007 for
A question-and-answer session following a screening of "Tootie's Last Suit" -- filmmaker Lisa Katzman's gloriously insightful look at the world of Mardi Gras Indians through the story of Tootie Montana's final days -- drew some discussion of the recent Tremé arrests.

"We won't bow down," said Sabrina Montana, daughter-in-law of the film's main character, quoting a familiar Indian-song lyric. "This has nothing to do with our disrespect for authority and everything to do with our self-respect. Until what we do is on the city charter, second-line and Mardi Gras Indian assemblies will continue to be threatened by the whims of those who are in authority."

Following the public outcry, Sgt. Ronald Dassel of the New Orleans Police Department was quoted in the Times-Picayune saying, "We don't change laws for neighborhoods." But in fact the city does and always has. Special legislation protects the tourist-rich French Quarter, for example. The mostly white Mardi Gras carnival parades command a long list of specific ordinances (including much lower permit fees than for second lines). And a recent judge's order, which some critics consider unconstitutional, delineated police arrest and release protocols for municipal offenses specifically by neighborhood -- with the Tremé among the neighborhoods subject to the sternest treatment.

"Some of these so-called "residents" have organized into groups with names like "Citizens For the Quality of Life in the French Quarter" or "Residents for 'the PRESERVATION' of Quality of Life" and so on. While the musicians of New Orleans have returned to try to resume their rich cultural lives, facing daunting financial and emotional odds, and
having lost most or all of their personal possessions continue to CONTRIBUTE to the city, the "Concerned Citizens" have contributed NOTHING. Countless clubs and venues for musicians to play and earn a decent living have been prohibited from having live music by these "concerned residents". They moved to New Orleans because it would be
"fun", but now want to change the culture to fit their own petty needs." 
-- donaldmaddog

St. Joseph's Night in New Orleans: Out After Dark with the Wild Indians @  By John Sinclair
Buffalo_Bill  He was one of the most colorful figures of the American Old West, and mostly famous for the shows he organized with cowboy themes. Buffalo Bill received the Medal of Honor in 1872. Cody's father believed that Kansas should be a free state, but many of the other settlers in the area were pro-slavery (see Bleeding Kansas). While giving an anti-slavery speech at the local trading post, he so inflamed the supporters of slavery in the audience that they formed a mob and one of them stabbed him. Cody helped to drag his father to safety, although he never fully recovered from his injuries. The family was constantly persecuted by the supporters of slavery, forcing Isaac Cody to spend much of his time away from home. Buffalo Bill Cody was the most recognizable celebrity on earth. And yet, despite all of the recognition and appreciation Cody's show brought for the Western and American Indian cultures, Buffalo Bill saw the American West change dramatically during his tumultuous life.




"Earl King, the late songwriter and guitarist, said in an interview that he believed the word "funky" got popularized by Earl Palmer, the New Orleans drummer, one of the most recorded drummers in history, who would say in the studio, "let's play it a little funkier," at a time when singers came to New Orleans to make hit records. We'd be talking about the early ‘50s there, maybe even the late ‘40s.

I'll talk about this in my next book, The Year Before the Flood, which is both an account of my childhood in segregated Louisiana and a play-by-play of the last year that New Orleans was whole, the year 2004-2005, when New Orleans was being very much itself and looking forward to more of the same. What I found, living in New Orleans that year, was that whatever else they do, most bands in New Orleans basically play funk."

-Ned Sublette

The New Orleans Groove.

A great New Orleans feel! In this first superb series of video Stanton Moore demonstrates the rrl rrl rl groove using his drum set. Check out others in this playlist.
Stanton Moore is a New Orleans style drummer raised in Metairie, Louisiana. Most widely known as a founding member of Galactic, Moore has also pursued a solo recording career (beginning with his 1998 debut All Kooked Out!) and recorded with bands as diverse as jazz-funk keyboardist Robert Walter and heavy metal act Corrosion of Conformity. He also travels internationally to teach New Orleans drumming, writes a regular column for drumming magazines, and releases instructional books and videos.
A collection of videos from drummer Derek Munson, taken during various gigs around the Pacific Northwest. See more at!
Allen Toussaint,  (born January 14, 1938) producer, songwriter, arranger, session pianist, solo artist is one of the most influential figures in New Orleans R&B, many of Toussaint's songs have become familiar through their numerous cover versions, including "Working in the Coalmine", "Ride Your Pony", "Brickyard Blues", "Get Out Of My Life Woman", "Southern Nights" and "Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky."
In the early 1960s he wrote and produced a string of hits for New Orleans R&B artists such as Ernie K-Doe, Irma Thomas, Art and Aaron Neville, The Showmen, and Lee Dorsey. Starting in the 1970s he switched gears to a funkier sound, writing and producing for The Meters, Dr John, and the Wild Tchoupitoulas Mardi Gras Indians tribe. He also began to work with non-New Orleans artists. Along with many of his contemporaries, Toussaint found that interest in his compositions was rekindled when his work began to be sampled by hip hop artists in the 1980s and 1990s. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
New Orleans was the first town where the word "funk" was used in connection with music. The lingua franca of New Orleans for decades now has been funk. And ,
You’ve also insisted that the Cuban clave is more ubiquitous in contemporary music than most listeners assume (and you point to Richard Berry’s “Louie Louie,” a rock ‘n’ roll milestone with a Cuban undercurrent, as the perfect example). More recently, you’ve argued for the dominant influence of the tango, the cha-cha-chá, and the danzón rhythm, along with a host of African rhythms, in New Orleans music. What did those African rhythms sound like at Congo Square, which, by your telling, is Ground Zero for New Orleans music?

"The history of rock and roll as it had been written up to that point was, you know, black people playing rhythm and blues, and white people playing country and western, and they crossed over. But I came to realize that when you talk about these two sides of the fence, you'd better look for the Latin element, because that was the mediator. When you listen to Chuck Berry's "Maybellene," his first hit, or Bo Diddley's first hit, both of ‘em had maracas. And these three-chord loops that I knew and loved from rock and roll in the ‘60s came from Cuban music."


---Ned Sublette

the Dew Drop Inn, the great black showplace of New Orleans in the ‘40s and ‘50s, crucial to the formation of rhythm and blues.
The Birth of Rock n Roll was an explosion because of technological advances from California
In 1948, Americans of different ethnic backgrounds were mixing at an unprecedented level in many different parts of the country following World War II, and new kind of music was finding its way onto the airwaves and the dance floors. The musicians got a big assist from technology with three break-through game changers for the music industry.

electric guitar: California instrument maker Leo Fender released the first mass-produced electric guitar. Called the Broadcaster, it sold for $169.95 retail, worth about $1,500 in early 2008 dollars. Renamed the Telecaster in 1950, Fender's guitar quickly became a favorite of jazz and big-band musicians who had for twenty years been experimenting with ways to add amplification to their hollow-body guitars so that they could be heard above the trumpets and saxophones. Fender would later add the tone-control amplifier to the arsenal, allowing individual musicians to add bass and treble to their sound

Long-Playing Records: Another 1948 invention which allowed rock and roll to eventually rule the airwaves was by engineers at Columbia Records, of the 12-inch long-playing phonograph record. Earlier discs were recorded to be played at 78 revolutions per minute and could hold only eight to ten minutes' worth of material. The larger, and slower-playing, 12-inch records would eventually contain more than half an hour's music on each side, enough to let musicians extend themselves beyond the one-hit-wonder formula. The 45 rpm disk soon followed, furthering the sonic and cultural revolution by inaugurating the three-minute single.

Transistor Radio: The third innovation of 1948 brought rock and roll within hearing of anyone with ears was the transistor, patented by Bell Labs researchers John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain, and William B. Shockley, would replace the bulky vacuum tubes that had powered radios and televisions up until that time. The transistor radio could now be massed produced. Shockley's attempts to commercialize a new transistor design in the 1950s and 1960s led to California's "
Silicon Valley" becoming a hotbed of electronics innovation. In his later life, Shockley was a professor at Stanford Unvirsity in the San Francisco Bay Ara, and his later years were controversial as he was a longtime staunch advocate for eugenics based on race.

Assorted discrete transistors.




Stanton Moore: Drummer from  New Orleans 

Stanton Moore with Garage A Benevento at Tipitina's May 2, 2007photo by [ Sam Friedman

Since Hurricane KatrinaStanton Moore has helped start and participates in the Tipitina's Foundation workshop for students, providing young people an opportunity to learn, play and perform with professional musicians Official Website


Rhythm and blues (also known as R&B, R'n'B or RnB) is the name given to a wide-ranging genre of popular music first created by African Americans in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The term was originally used by record companies to refer to recordings bought predominantly by African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a heavy, insistent beat" was becoming more popular.

Gary "U.S." Bonds - New Orleans/Quarter To Three

From John Lennon's jukebox-- an examination of the songs that John Lennon considered precious: Gary says the public didn't know he was black until 1962. I don't know about that...I saw him doing "Quarter to Three" on "Bandstand" in mid-1961 and he sure didn't look white to me! That song was such a smash that the kids in the Bandstand audience insisted that he sing it twice! I never saw that happen before, the guy was a sensation...

In the 1956 film Rock, Rock, Rock, Alan Freed, as himself, tells the audience that "Rock and roll is a river of music that has absorbed many streams: rhythm and blues, jazz, rag time, cowboy songs, country songs, folk songs. All have contributed to the big beat."

"rock and roll" 
In 1951, Cleveland, Ohio disc jockey Alan Freed began playing rhythm and blues and country music for a multi-racial audience. Freed is credited with first using the phrase "rock and roll" to describe the music he played. However, the term had already been introduced to US audiences, particularly in the lyrics of many rhythm and blues records. Three different songs with the title "Rock And Roll" were recorded in the late 1940s; one by Paul Bascomb in 1947, another by Wild Bill Moore in 1948, and yet another by Doles Dickens in 1949, and the phrase was in constant use in the lyrics of R&B songs of the time. One such record where the phrase was repeated throughout the song was "Rock And Roll Blues," recorded in 1949 by Erline "Rock And Roll" Harris. The phrase was also included in advertisements for the film Wabash Avenue, starring Betty Grable and Victor Mature. An ad for the movie that ran April 12, 1950 billed Ms. Grable as "...the first lady of rock and roll" and Wabash Avenue as "...the roaring street she rocked to fame".

Before then, the phrase "rocking and rolling", as secular black slang for dancing or sex, appeared on record for the first time in 1922 on Trixie Smith's "My Man Rocks Me With One Steady Roll". Even earlier, in 1916, the term "rocking and rolling" was used with a religious connotation, on the phonograph record "The Camp Meeting Jubilee" by an unnamed male "quartette".[5] The word "rock" had a long history in the English language as a metaphor for "to shake up, to disturb or to incite". In 1937, Chick Webb and Ella Fitzgerald recorded "Rock It for Me," which included the lyric, "So won't you satisfy my soul with the rock and roll." "Rocking" was a term used by black gospel singers in the American South to mean something akin to spiritual rapture. By the 1940s, however, the term was used as a double entendre, ostensibly referring to dancing, but with the subtextual meaning of sex, as in Roy Brown's "Good Rocking Tonight." The verb "roll" was a medieval metaphor which meant "having sex". Writers for hundreds of years have used the phrases "They had a roll in the hay" or "I rolled her in the clover"[6]. The terms were often used together ("rocking and rolling") to describe the motion of a ship at sea, for example as used in 1934 by the Boswell Sisters in their song "Rock and Roll"[7], which was featured in the 1934 film "Transatlantic Merry-Go-Round",[8][9] and in Buddy Jones' "Rockin' Rollin' Mama" (1939). Country singer Tommy Scott was referring to the motion of a railroad train in the 1951 "Rockin and Rollin'". [10].

An alternative claim is that the origins of "rocking and rolling" can be traced back to steel driving men working on the railroads in the Reconstruction South. These men would sing hammer songs to keep the pace of their hammer swings. At the end of each line in a song, the men would swing their hammers down to drill a hole into the rock. The shakers — the men who held the steel spikes that the hammer men drilled — would "rock" the spike back and forth to clear rock or "roll", twisting the spike to improve the "bite" of the drill.[11]


Louis Jordan:
A Founding Father of Rock n Roll and Rap
In the 1940s, Louis Jordan (July 8, 1908 - February 4, 1975) who was born in Arkansas, released dozens of hit songs, including the swinging "Saturday Night Fish Fry" (one of the earliest and most powerful contenders for the title of "First rock and roll record"), "Blue Light Boogie", the comic classic "Ain't Nobody Here but Us Chickens", "Buzz Me," "Ain't That Just Like a Woman", and the multi-million seller "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie".
Five Guys Named Moe is a musical with a book by Clarke Peters and lyrics and music by Louis Jordan and others.---His woman has left him, he's flat broke, and it's almost five o'clock in the morning when Nomax suddenly finds Big Moe, Four-Eyed Moe, Eat Moe, No Moe, and Little Moe emerging from his 1930s-style radio to comfort him with the hit songs of songwriter and saxophonist Louis Jordan, whose new slant on jazz paved the way for rock and roll in the 1950s.

Although Jordan began his career in big band swing jazz in the 1930s, he became famous as one of the leading practitioners, innovators and popularizers of "jump blues", a swinging, up-tempo, dance-oriented hybrid of jazz, blues and boogie-woogie. The prime of Louis Jordan's recording career, 1942-1950, was a period of segregation on the radio. Despite this he was able to score the crossover #1 single "G.I. Jive"/"Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby?" in 1944.

Jordan is often credited with providing many of the building blocks for rock and roll music. During an interview late in life, Jordan made the controversial remark that rock and roll music was simply rhythm and blues music played by white performers. Among Jordan's biggest fans were Little Richard and Chuck Berry. Berry clearly modeled his musical approach on Jordan's, changing the text from black life to teenage life, and substituting cars and girls for Jordan's primary motifs of food, drink, money and girls.

James Brown has also specifically cited Jordan as a major influence because of his multi-faceted talent. In the 1992 documentary Lenny Henry Hunts The Funk Brown said that Jordan had influenced him "... in every way. He could sing, he could dance, he could play, he could act. He could do it all."

Jordan's vocal style was arguably an important precursor to rap. His 1947 sister tracks, "Beware (Brother Beware)" and "Look Out (Sister)", entirely delivered as spoken rhyming couplets, can arguably be classified as one of the very first true "raps" in popular music. "Saturday Night Fish Fry" (1950) also features a rapid-fire, highly syncopated semi-spoken vocal delivery that is strongly reminiscent of the modern rap style.

 Arkansas is just north of Louisiana
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Bo Diddley (December 30, 1928 – June 2, 2008, Adopted by a Mississippi sharecropping family, Bo Diddley (born Ellas McDaniel) moved with them to the South Side of Chicago.  He was known as "The Originator" because of his key role in the transition from blues music to rock & roll, influencing a host of legendary acts including Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton.[1] He introduced more insistent, driving rhythms and a hard-edged guitar sound on a wide-ranging catalog of songs. Accordingly, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and also received the Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Lifetime Achievement Award.

Bo Diddley was well known for the "Bo Diddley beat," a rumba-like beat similar to "hambone", a style used by street performers who play out the beat by slapping and patting their arms, legs, chest, and cheeks while chanting rhymes.[11] This syncopated "hambone" beat — CHINK-a-CHINK-a-CHINK, a-CHINK-CHINK — is a cornerstone of rock & roll songs, from Diddley's own "Who Do You Love," "Mona," "Bo Diddley," and "I'm a Man" to the Who's "Magic Bus," Bruce Springsteen's "She's the One," the Pretenders' "Cuban Slide," the Strangelove's "I Want Candy" Somewhat resembling "shave and a haircut" beat, Diddley came across it while trying to play Gene Autry's "(I've Got Spurs That) Jingle, Jangle, Jingle".

In its simplest form, the Bo Diddley beat can be counted out as a two-bar phrase:

"One and two and three and four and one and two and three and four and..."

The bolded counts are the clave rhythm.

His songs (for example, "Hey Bo Diddley" and "Who Do You Love?") often have no chord changes; that is, the musicians play the same chord throughout the piece, so that the rhythms create the excitement, rather than having the excitement generated by harmonic tension and release.

In 1963, he starred in a UK concert tour where The Rolling Stones, still barely known outside London at that time, appeared as a supporting act on the same bill. Diddley's legacy was enhanced considerably during the mid-1960s, when many of his songs were covered by British Invasion groups like the Rolling Stones. Mick Jagger stated that "he was a wonderful, original musician who was an enormous force in music and was a big influence on The Rolling Stones. He was very generous to us in our early years and we learned a lot from him." Jagger also praised the late star as a one-off musician, adding, "We will never see his like again.[42] As his bass player, Debby Hastings said: he was the rock that the roll was built on."



Origins of the name rock and roll

The first coupling of the words "rock" and "roll" on record came in 1916, in a recording of a spiritual, "The Camp Meeting Jubilee", by an unnamed vocal "quartette" issued by Little Wonder Records. The lyrics include "We've been rocking and rolling in your arms / Rocking and rolling in your arms / In the arms of Moses". In 1922, blues singer Trixie Smith recorded "My Man Rocks Me (with One Steady Roll)", first featuring the two words in a secular context. Twelve years later, The Boswell Sisters had a hit with "Rock and Roll" (1934).

However, for many years and probably centuries previously, the term "rocking and rolling" had been used as a nautical term to denote the side-to-side and forward-and-backward motion of ships on the ocean. This meaning was used metaphorically in such records as Buddy Jones' "Rockin' Rollin' Mama" (1939) - "Waves on the ocean, waves in the sea/ But that gal of mine rolls just right for me/ Rockin' rollin' mama, I love the way you rock and roll".

Rocking was a term also used by gospel singers in the American South to mean something akin to spiritual rapture. A double, ironic, meaning came to popular awareness in 1947 in blues artist Roy Brown's song "Good Rocking Tonight" (also covered the next year by Wynonie Harris in an even wilder version), in which "rocking" was ostensibly about dancing but was in fact a thinly-veiled allusion to sex



pianist Professor Longhair  joined Allen Toussaint,

the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, or the Rebirth Brass Band led by trumpeter Kermit Ruffins.

The Wild Tchoupitoulas 

Art Neville, the Neville Brothers.

The Original Meters, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue and Dr. John.

New Orleans became a hotbed for funk music in the 1960s and 70s, and by the late 1980s it had developed its own localized variant of hip hop  producing Lil Wayne, Master P, Birdman, Juvenile,



The three girls who comprised the group were Barbara Ann Hawkins [born 1943], her sister Rosa Lee Hawkins [born 1944] and their cousin Joan Marie Johnson [born 1945]. All were from New Orleans. Originally known as Little Miss and the Muffets, the girls were discovered at a talent contest. New Orleans record producer/singer Joe Jones, who had a top ten hit of his own in 1960 with You Talk Too Much, liked their act and brought the girls to the Brill Building in New York.

In 1964 they began to rehearse a song that had been written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector titled Chapel Of Love. Spector produced a version of the same song by one of his groups, the Crystals, that went unissued. He also produced a version by another one of his groups, the Ronettes, which coincidentally was also comprised of two sisters and their cousin. Although it appeared to everyone involved that Chapel Of Love had "hit" written all over it, Spector was somewhat apprehensive about releasing the song. Barry and Greenwich arranged a rehearsal for the girls from New Orleans at Red Bird Records, a new label that was owned by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. The group was renamed the Dixie Cups, and their version of Chapel Of Love was released in 1964 on Red Bird. It became a huge international hit, a million seller, and a solid number one record in the United States. It also was a huge boost to Red Bird, which a short time later would become the home of another enormously successful girl group from New York City, the Shangri-Las. Spector later issued the Ronettes' version of Chapel Of Love on an album.

The Dixie Cups added two more top forty hits in 1964, People Say and You Should Have Seen The Way He Looked At Me


My grandma and your grandma, were sittin by the fire,
My grandma told your grandma, I'm going to set your flag on fire,

chorus -
Takin bout hey now, hey now
Iko! Iko! an de'
Jackomo fe no nan e' , Jackomo fe nan e'

Look at my King all dressed in red
Iko! Iko! an de'
I bet you 5 dollars, he kill you dead!
Jackomo fe nan e'
Takin bout ..... hey now, hey now
Iko! Iko! an de'
Jackomo fe no an e' , Jackomo fe nan e'

My flagboy and your flagboy, sittin by the fire,
My flagboy told your flagboy, I'm going to set your flag on fire,
Takin bout ..... hey now, hey now
Iko! Iko! an de'
Jackomo fe no an e' , Jackomo fe nan e'

See that guy all dressed in green, Iko! Iko! an de'
He's not a man, he's a lovin machine!
Jackomo fe nan e'
Takin bout hey now, hey now
Iko! Iko! an de'
Jackomo fe no nane' , Jackomo fe nan e'


The first pop version of a Mardi Gras Indian song, which was played in a mambo / R&B style. One of the biggest Mardi Gras hits is "Mardi Gras Mambo" by the Hawketts. Art Neville could never have imagined that this record he made as a teenager would still be played to death more than 50 years later--it's New Orleans doing mambo.
The song was popularized by The Dixie Cups in 1965. Their version came about by accident. They were in a New York City studio for a recording session when they began an impromptu version of "Iko Iko", accompanied only by drumsticks on a coke bottle [Barbara Hawkins: "We were just clowning around with it during a session using drumsticks on ashtrays. We didn't realize that Jerry and Mike had the tapes running". ]. The tape happened to be running and session producers Leiber and Stoller added bass and drums and released it.[2]

The Dixie Cups, who had heard it sung by their grandmother, knew little about the origin of the song and so the original authorship credit went to the members, Barbara Ann Hawkins, her sister Rosa Lee Hawkins, and their cousin Joan Marie Johnson.

After the Dixie Cups version of the "Iko Iko" was released in 1965, The Dixie Cups and their record label, Redbird Records, were sued by James Crawford, who claimed that "Iko Iko" was the same as his composition "Jockamo".[3] Although The Dixie Cups denied that the two compositions were similar, the lawsuit resulted in a settlement in 1967 with Crawford making no claim to authorship or ownership of "Iko Iko" [4], but being credited 25% for public performances, such as on radio, of "Iko Iko" in the United States.[5]

Following is the "Iko Iko" story, as told by Dr. John in the liner notes to his 1972 album, Dr. John's Gumbo, in which he covers New Orleans R&B classics:
"The song was written and recorded back in the early 1950s by a New Orleans singer named James Crawford who worked under the name of Sugar Boy & the Cane Cutters. It was recorded in the 1960s by the Dixie Cups for Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller's Red Bird Records, but the format we're following here is Sugar Boy's original. Also in the group were Professor Longhair on piano, Jake Myles, Big Boy Myles, Irv Bannister on guitar, and Eugene 'Bones' Jones on drums. The group was also known as the Chipaka Shaweez. The song was originally called 'Jockamo,' and it has a lot of Creole patois in it. Jockamo means 'jester' in the old myth. It is Mardi Gras music, and the Shaweez was one of many Mardi Gras groups who dressed up in far out Indian costumes and came on as Indian tribes. The tribes used to hang out on Claiborne Avenue and used to get juiced up there getting ready to perform and 'second line' in their own special style during Mardi Gras. That's dead and gone because there's a freeway where those grounds used to be. The tribes were like social clubs who lived all year for Mardi Gras, getting their costumes together. Many of them were musicians, gamblers, hustlers and pimps."
The song is regularly performed by various artists from New Orleans such as the Neville Brothers (who have recorded it in a medley with the melodically-related Mardi Gras song "Brother John" as "Brother John/Iko Iko"), Larry Williams, Dr. John, The Radiators, Willy DeVille, Buckwheat Zydeco and Zachary Richard, and can often be heard on the streets and in the bars of New Orleans, especially during Mardi Gras.

It has also been covered by Cyndi Lauper, the Grateful Dead (who made Iko Iko a constant staple in their live shows from 1977 onward), Cowboy Mouth, Warren Zevon, Long John Baldry, Dave Matthews & Friends, Indigo Girls, The Ordinary Boys, Glass Candy, and Sharon, Lois & Bram among others. Aaron Carter covered the song for The Little Vampire soundtrack, and The Belle Stars' cover was featured in the film Rain Man. A later version by Zap Mama, with rewritten lyrics, was featured in the opening sequences of the film Mission: Impossible II. Eurodance act Captain Jack re-popularized the tune in Germany in 2001.



Louis Prima (December 7, 1910[1] - August 24, 1978) was an Italian-American entertainer, singer, actor, songwriter, and trumpeter. Prima rode the musical trends of his time, starting with his seven-piece New Orleans style jazz band in the 1920s, then successively leading a swing combo in the 1930s, a big band in the 1940s, a Vegas lounge act in the 1950s, and a pop-rock band in the 1960s. In each of his musical endeavors, he incorporated his exuberant personality into his act. Prima's 1936 composition "Sing Sing Sing" became one of his biggest hits and one of the most covered standards of the swing era.

In 1947 he added singer Cathy Ricciardi, who recorded under the name Cathy Allen. She was succeeded in 1949 by Keely Smith (who was to become his fourth wife), and the band concentrated on novelty songs like "Civilization (Bongo Bongo Bongo)" and "All Right, Louis, Drop the Gun."

As the big band era waned in the 1950s, Prima morphed his act into the original Las Vegas Lounge act featuring his wife and female singer Keely Smith. On stage, Prima insisted that Smith would adopt a humorless, poker-faced character that would play straight to Prima's zany ad libs. Smith actually had a fine sense of comedy that is often audible on the team's recordings; no matter how much the incorrigible Prima tried to disrupt her vocals, Smith would often come back with a funny remark of her own. In 1959, Prima and Smith won the Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Vocal Group or Chorus for "That Old Black Magic." For almost a decade, Prima and Smith raised two children, while he made scores of records, owned racehorses, appeared on television, and they outgrew the lounge and were promoted to the big room.

In 1967 Prima's distinctive voice and jazzy delivery landed him a role in Walt Disney's animated feature The Jungle Book, as the raucous orangutan King Louie. He performed the hit song "I Wanna Be Like You" on the soundtrack, leading to the recording of two albums with Phil Harris: The Jungle Book and More Jungle Book, on Disneyland Records. He can also be heard on the soundtrack of another cartoon feature, The Man Called Flintstone. David Lee Roth,  covered his medley of "Just a Gigolo"/"I Ain't Got Nobody" in the 1980s, and Brian Setzer, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and other nouveau swing bands of the 1990s, covering such Prima standards as "Jump, Jive and Wail"
In 2008, Vanessa Claire Smith and Jake Broder wrote and starred in the new musical, "Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara," which premiered at Los Angeles' Sacred Fools Theatre Company


Britney Spears.  Morning America that her concert tour would begin in New Orleans on March 3, 2009. .








Creole music applies to two genres of music from south Louisiana: Creole folk and black Creole.. Along with Cajun music, black Creole music played a role in early development of la-la, zydeco, and swamp pop. 

Drawing on elements of the earlier Traditional, Texas Swing, and Dancehall periods, the Cajun "Renaissance" also incorporates more modern elements of Folk, blues, jazz and swamp pop, and bluegrass styles. The fiddle players relax, involving a more legato feel to the solos. The quick fiddle action and double stops are missing, replaced by dominant blues chords and jazz slides.

Pioneers such as Beausoleil with Michael Doucet, Zachary Richard, Jambalaya Cajun Band, Bruce Daigrepont, and others broke new ground, while other musicians such as Eddie LeJeune, Robert Jardell, Les Frères Michot, and others brought energy to older, more traditional forms.

This style involves Cajun music with a heavy influence of rock, R&B, blues, soul, and zydeco, producing a less traditional, more contemporary sound. Although led by the accordion, you can find the electric guitar, Washboard, and keyboard present in this form. Since the 1980s, musicians such as Wayne Toups, Roddie Romero and the Hub City Allstars, Lee Benoit, Damon Troy, Hunter Hayes, Kevin Naquin, and Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys have popularized this modern form of Cajun music


In the mid-1950s, the popularity of Clifton Chenier brought zydeco to the fringes of the American mainstream. In the mid-1980s, Rockin' Sidney brought international attention to zydeco music with his hit tune "My Toot Toot." Clifton Chenier, Rockin' Sidney and Queen Ida,  Recently, zydeco Achieved a separate category in the Grammy awards. The Grammy Award for Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album category was created for 2007.[1]



Link Directory & other Sources
Dancing doesn't necessarily mean that you're happy. But dancing means that you're alive, and it's exhilarating to be alive, especially when they're trying to kill you. For New Orleans, white or black, Mardi Gras is the ultimate expression that you're alive. If New Orleans didn't have Mardi Gras, it wouldn't be New Orleans.

---Ned Sublette,_Louisiana
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Ned Sublette
Better known as a singer-songwriter (his 1999 Palm Pictures album Cowboy Rumba reached #1 on the World Music Charts Europe), Ned Sublette (b. 1951, Texas) went to Cuba in January 1990 to explore the then-unknown (in the U.S.) music scene there. Like many people who go to Cuba, he found it a life-changing experience. "My life is divided into before and after that first trip to Cuba," he says.  Ned Sublette was for several years co-producer of the public radio program Afropop Worldwide; in the early 1990s he pioneered the marketing of Cuban music in the U.S. with his record label Qbadisc
Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to Mambo - 2007 - 691 pages
a monumental study of Cuban music
The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Sivler to Congo Square - 2008 - 372 pages
a two-part interview between Ned Sublette and Garnette Cadogan. Click here to read Part 2!
In 2009 Ned Sublette is at work on his next book
, The Year Before The Flood, an account of modern New Orleans history and culture.

1999 - Cowboy Rumba
1997 - Monsters from the Deep
1993 - Ships at Sea, Sailors and Shoes
1982 - Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly/ in "Life is a Killer"
1980 - Western Classics with the Southwesterners

---Ned Sublette, 2009

 Interview of the author of "The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square" in 2009 as he writes his next book, The Year Before The Flood, an account of modern New Orleans history and culture.  by Garnette Cadogan [more]


 and CubaNOLA Arts Collective Present
  Afro-Cuban Music and Dance in New Orleans


April 17-27, 2009           
Hang out in New Orleans for 10 non-stop days of percussion and dance classes, parties, concerts, parades and more with Yosvany Terry's Afro-Cuban Ye-de-gbe Project, the ReBirth Brass Band and Cuban hip hop group Orishas.  

Price: $1,850
Includes double accommodations with breakfast at St. Vincent's Guest House in the Historic Garden District, music and dance workshops, daily cultural activities, and tickets to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for April 24, 25, & 26.  Airfare not included. Contact us or CubaNOLA at for more information. Deadline to register is March 30, 2009.


     Cuban Music - Jazz - Parades - Parties - Classes

Our tour guide, Keith Frazier (co-director of the ReBirth Brass Band) will seamlessly guide us through large tourist events, as well as local neighborhood festivities. You'll experience the African connections between Cuba and New Orleans in some of the city's most important cultural events of the year, including the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the French Quarter Festival, Mardi Gras Indian events and Second Line Parades.

You'll also hear some inspirational Cuban music with Yosvany Terry's Ye-de-gbe Afro-Cuban project, featuring Yunior Terry, Osmany Paredes, Justin Brown, Pedrito Martinez, Roman Diaz, Sandy Perez and master dancer, Felix "Pupi" Insua. Also, Cuban hip hop group, Orishas will perform at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

                               Travel to Cuba
You may be eligible to travel legally to Cuba for humanitarian purposes or to engage in professional research.
                            Contact Us for Details!



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WWOZ Live broadcasts take you to local festivals, clubs, churches and into the very streets of New Orleans. Check out the last 6 months in the archives as well.

Mardi Gras Indians (Pelican Publishing Company, 1994), by Michael P. Smith



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"I can't imagine that there is anybody that Mardi Gras doesn't offer something for unless you don't like fun. Unless you don't like to have a good time."

---James Carville

African American Heritage Trail African American Heritage Trail
The influence of Louisiana's African-American population cannot be overstated. Get the whole story, beginning in New Orleans and continuing through South and Central Louisiana and up to the friendly towns of North Louisiana. Online audio clips will let you know what to expect.