Friday, February 27, 2009

A jazz funeral

As I mentioned last week, New Orleans R&B singer and guitar virtuoso Snooks Eaglin has passed away. Today, Mr. Eaglin was honored with a procession through the streets of the city’s Warehouse/Arts District... in the manner of a traditional “jazz funeral.”

A brass band started at noon with “What a Friend We Have In Jesus,” played as a dirge.

Then the musicians kicked up a swinging march (alas, I can’t name the tune), and a few onlookers broke into “second line” dance moves.

Such is the visual magic of a New Orleans jazz funeral that many folks – black and white – had their cameras out.

Including me.

To mark the occasion, I’m spinning another Snooks Eaglin track on my Vox blog. Click here to hear his rocking version of “Red Beans” from 1991. (This tune was Professor Longhair’s rewrite of “Got My Mojo Working.”)

There will also be a jazz funeral tomorrow... for Antoinette K-Doe, the widow of R&B performer Ernie K-Doe and the keeper of his shrine: the famous Mother-In-Law Lounge in Treme.

Miss Antoinette died on Mardi Gras day. She was 66 years old and a beloved local character.

4 comments:

verb said...

yeah, f*#@k mardi gras. THIS is new orleans.

Kellybelle said...

That's so cool. We should celebrate liberation from life's hardships. I wonder how the tradition started. (And I'm too lazy to google it)

quirkychick said...

When Jerry Garcia died they had a New Orleans band come in to lead a parade through Golden Gate park.

It is something that makes the heart smile through tears and I want a parade just like that when I die.

RIP Snooks.

Anonymous said...

Verb,
Your language is a tad inappropriate. Remember, the post is about a death as well as a NOLA tradition.
I went to a jazz funeral that was held for a local rapper a few years back where the number of people and music was like a roving concert that got bigger and bigger. Basically, it's about a celebration of a person's life, mourning the loss, and also reminding people that everyone will eventually have this transition.
Death is not far from Mardi Gras since the Skeleton krewes or bone men are usually the first to march through the neighborhoods. Men used to dress like skeletons and scare us early in the morning.