There's nothing original about the idea of brass bands in western culture. Every small town has had its firemen, police force, high school, or civic group organize a dozen or so uniformed men with occasions for which their appearance seemed appropriate. Universally they have specialized in military airs and have been most in evidence on patriotic holidays.

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Photo: The Reliance Brass Band (1910)

Seated is leader Jack Laine. The others are Manuel Mello, Yellow Nunez, Leonce Mello, Baby Laine, Chink Martin, Tim Harris. The “Big Show” is Laine’s Greater Majestic Minstrels behind a carbarn at Canal and White streets. A hurricane that yearblew down tent.

While New Orleans, back to the 18 50‘s, also found use for such groups, the city's exotic Cultural pattern developed broader uses for them and involved them more closely in daily life. Only in New Orleans does the brass band figure regularly in funeral plans. Only here do the bands turn out in force manly on Mothers Day rather than the Fourth of July. Almost every fraternal lodge makes regular provision for the music of the brass band.

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Photo: Jefferson City Buzzards (1925)

This carnival club always used top bands

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Photo: Kid Rena's Band (1937)

The players are marching through the Storyville district.

Not only is the brass band used unconventionally in the Crescent City, but ist music owes little debt to Sousa and Pryor. Peace-loving Orleanians prefer popular tunes, jazz standards, and blues to martial strains, with an occasional solemn dirge or hymn when these are warranted by the Circumstances. Our music-loving public relates to its brass bands with affection unparalleled in American Culture. It has been known to make folk-heroes of its favorites. The likes of Buddy Bolden, Manuel Perez, and Lawrence Veca were the Mickey Mantles, Willie Mayses, and Babe Ruths of their era. In other Climes the brass band on parade has stationary spectators who stand on sidewalks an watch the band go by.

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Photo: The Henry Allen Brass Band (Mardi Gras, 1926).

The snare drummer is Ramos Matthews. In the rear is the leader on brass drum. At the right, face hidden by music, is Louis Dumaine.

The “Second Line” — a mass audience of extroverted enthusiasts — follows along with the musicians, dancing figures little removed from the Calindas and Bababoulas of the Century past. From the ranks of “Second Line” have been directly recruited the grand names of New Orleans jazz. Little Louis Armstrong proudly carried the horns of Bunk Johnson and K. Oliver in the street. George Lewis took his turn to ging along as did Pete Fountain and the rest. The brass bands represent the happiest, most loved place phase of music of New Orleans.

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Photo: The Tonic Triad Band (1928).

ront row, left to right, are unknown, Albert Frauds, Jr. , Albert Jones, James Smith, Ace Williams. Middle row includes Isidore Barbarin, unknown, unknown, Albert Warner, Red Clark, - Leopice; Chicken Henry, John Ever, unknown, T. Dalmas. Of those in the back row, the first three are not musicians. The remaining are Gertrude Daily, Ophelia Grigsby, James Harris, Pop Hamilton, Melvin Frank, Geneva Moret, Bea Acheson, Lurnas Hamilton, Willie Pajeaud, Alcide Landry, dircetor Professor Henry Pritchard


Allen Brass Band, Abbey Williams Happy Pals, Bulls Club Brass Band, Camelia Brass Band, Columbia Brass Band, Diamond Stone Brass Band, Eclipse Brass Band, Eureka Brass Band, Excelsior Brass Band, Fischer’s Brass Band, Fischer’s Ragtime Military Jazz Band, Gibson Brass Band, George Williams Brass Band, Iefferson City Buzzards, Lions Brass Band, Lafon School Band, Masonic Brass Band, Melrose Brass Band, Mathews Band Of Lockport, Onward Brass Band, Pickwick Brass Band, Rellance Brass Band, St. Joseph Brass Band, Schillings Brass Band, St. Francis De Sales Military Band, Siegfried Christensen’s New Orleans Brass Band, Terminal Brass Band, Tuxedo Brass Band, The Tonic Triad Band, The WPA Band, The Algiers Naval Station Band, The New Orleans Waif’s Home Band, Young Tuxedo Brass Band