This 16mm film footage, recorded by Jules Cahn and housed at The Historic New Orleans Collection, shows the stages of a traditional jazz funeral. (THNOC, 2000.78.4.20)
Second lines and brass bands are among our city’s musical staples, but did you know that a traditional jazz funeral consists of two parts?
This 1966 footage illustrates components in the funeral procession for trumpeter Avery “Kid” Howard (b. 1908). First, a slow dirge is played on the somber walk to Howard’s grave and continues while the body is interred. Then, the music turns upbeat on the way from the cemetery, drawing a “second line” of outside participants.
This film was recorded by Jules Cahn (1916-1995), a New Orleans native who documented local musicians and culture, including jazz funerals.
– Teresa Devlin, The Historic New Orleans Collection