The reverence and revelry of a New Orleans jazz funeral procession
Drawing from West African, Haitian and European colonial influences, jazz funerals are a tradition almost entirely exclusive to New Orleans, and as culturally rich and multifaceted as the city itself. The processions generally open with a brass band performing solemn marches and dirges as family and friends accompany the deceased to a burial. Eventually, the band breaks out into more upbeat and swinging numbers, allowing mourners cathartic release in music and dance, and onlookers to form a ‘second line’ and join the festivities. In what director Caitlyn Greene describes as ‘a love letter to New Orleans’, Big Daddy’s Last Dance captures the arc of a jazz funeral, in all its reverent, jubilant glory.