[Dixielandjazz] Jews and Jazz AND X-mas music!

David Bockman Dabey at ix.netcom.com
Thu Oct 6 08:22:05 PDT 2005


This is my first posting to this list

Just a curious juxtaposition you might appreciate.

The Jaffe family (of Preservation Hall) have (had?) an annual tradition 
(as Jews) to go about town in NOLA playing X-mas music (carols, etc - 
some in jazz style) as a little brass band, with whatever Jewish 
musicians they could round up. We played for some old folks homes and 
some friends' parties and just a little in the street - to be civic 
minded and have a good mood around town. It's part of what makes (made?) 
New Orleans a special musical place to live.

Yes, I am a rabbi and a trumpet player.

When Alan Jaffe started this annual tradition, they used to call it the 
"Santa Claus Band". When I joined it, we wanted a more current name, so 
we called it the "Original Virgin Birth Brass Band", and we even went in 
to play on the air on WWOZ radio station.

As to those who say that jazz is dead in New Orleans, I guess they just 
haven't been around for any of the great second line parades, jam 
sessions or other "unlisted events" that gives (gave?) the city its 
unique musical blend of jazz, funk, rock, blues, what-have-you. Unless 
you've heard the Rebirth play at the Rock-n-Bowl (bowling alley with a 
bar and stage) or danced for hours on Mardi Gras day, late in the 
afternoon on Frenchmen Street in the Faubourg Marigny as the samba 
drummers parade meets up with the Pair-o'-dice Tumblers parade, or 
marched in Treme with the Black Men of Labor Labor Day parade, or jammed 
with Mardi Gras Indians on Super Sunday, you probably missed the reason 
jazz came to be!

And, yes, I was one of those guys who had a day gig (as a rabbi) so I 
only played - when I could - in a few different bands. And I had 
previously lived in Los Angeles, Jerusalem, New York and Kansas City - 
but New Orleans was the best musical place for me.

And boy do I miss it!

Rabbi David Bockman
Bergenfield, New Jersey

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