NEW ORLEANS (press release) – In the history of jazz, brass bands are remembered as a training ground for many early New Orleans musicians – like Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet – who would go on to change American music during the 1920s “Jazz Age.” While typical six or seven piece dance ensembles recorded what became the main body of classic New Orleans Jazz in the north, the local brass bands remained behind only to be remembered as a footnote in the origins of jazz. These marching groups were known for playing in parades and the city’s infamous “jazz funerals,” but little is known about their origins, style, continuation, and evolution – especially since New Orleans brass bands were not recorded until the 1950s and their functions continued largely as a underground, unpublicized black community events into the 1980s.

To a core of African American New Orleanians, the brass band tradition has remained an important socially meaningful part of life that connects them to ancestral traditions and maintains the spirit and ceremonial practices that led to the development of jazz. While the original jazz style, repertoire, and format of brass bands in community parades and funerals continued into the early 1980s, a revolutionary new modern jazz and rhythm & blues influenced type of brass band started and gained momentum during the late 1970s – leading to massive outside interest and an explosion of new young brass bands that continues into today.


Register today for “The New Orleans Brass Band Tradition From The Streets To The World,” a free zoom presentation Sunday, Aug. 23 from 5 – 7 p.m.

The event is produced by Healdsburg Jazz, presented by Dr. Michael White, curated by Jessica Felix and hosted by Marcus Shelby, with special guests Gregg Stafford and Bennie Pete – leader of The Hot 8 Brass Band.