From time to time we will share a brief post about authentic New Orleans Jazz.
One of the most interesting elements of traditional New Orleans Jazz is the second line, which is an open participation parade accompanying a funeral. The first line of the parade consists of the family members of the deceased, the hearse, and usually a brass band playing slower mournful music capturing the grief of the moment.
The second line, in contrast, is a celebration of life through dance, singing, and traditional New Orleans Jazz. Here is a brief clip of Fats Domino‘s funeral procession:
In his article, Block Parties in Motion: the New Orleans Second Line Parade, Ian McNulty explores the expansion of the second line parade beyond funerals:
There are dozens of different second line parades put on throughout the year, usually on Sunday afternoons, and held in the French Quarter and neighborhoods all across the city. They range in size, level of organization and traditions, but in all cases they will include a brass band, jubilant dancing in the street and members decked out in a wardrobe of brightly colored suits, sashes, hats and bonnets, parasols and banners, melding the pomp of a courtly function and the spontaneous energy of a block party, albeit one that moves a block at a time. The parades are not tied to any particular event, holiday or commemoration; rather, they are generally held for their own sake and to let the good times roll.
Let’s finish off with a classic New Orleans tune featuring second line rhythms called I’m Walkin’ by the great Fats Domino: