sound that put New Orleans on the map, musically speaking!! It's a
distinctive sound--not big band swing, with horns creating harmony.
Nor is it modern jazz or "bebop," the post World War II
style that relies on speeding tempos and virtuosic soloing. And it's
not "pop" music, the form of music from the pre-rock 'n
roll days. New Orleans jazz is a style of music.
Almost any song can be "jazzed" up with a New Orleans beat.
Jazz is music for dancing, not listening, even though that is what
modern jazz became in the 1950s and beyond. New Orleans Jazz has a
swinging, stomping, syncopated beat that makes you want to dance!
It also has a simple melodic quality that sounds dated to some today.
What sets jazz apart from the music that preceded it is the way the
musicians improvised--it was a vehicle for personal expression for
both the musicians and the dancers. In 1976, jazz historian Al Rose
wrote a definition of New Orleans-style jazz which was eventually
adopted by the city government. It reads: "Jazz is two or more
musical voices improvising collectively in two-four or four-four time
on any known melody and syncopating" The Louisiana State Museum
at the Old U.S. Mint gives us this definition: "New Orleans jazz
is a performance art based on the musical elements of syncopation,
improvisation, blues scale, call-and-response, rhythm, tone color,
harmony and interpretation."
New Orleans Second Line band
has been featured at Mardi Gras Balls, funerals, processions and weddings.
Usually a six piece band with four horns and two drums, with a traditional
second line repertoire that include slow sad, funeral hymns known
as a "dirge" as well as traditional parade tunes such as
“When the Saints Come Marching In.”