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Monday, December 23, 2013


Photo by Tom Jacobsen
We held a jazz funeral parade for George H. Buck, Jr., on Saturday, December 20. The procession went from the Charbonnet Funeral Home on Claiborne and St. Philip, through the Treme neighborhood to St. Mary's Church on Chartres Street, then on to the Palm Court for a reception hosted by George's widow, Nina Buck and his son George S. "Bo" Buck.

It was a moving and stately event, reminding me of George Lewis's funeral in 1969, at which I played the Eb clarinet with the Olympia Brass Band. This band, put together by Lars Edegran, was composed mainly of musicians who play at the Palm Court and/or recorded for George's G.H.B. label. Here is a list of the personnel, as best  I can remember: Clive Wilson, Leroy Jones, Herlin Riley, Tobias Dolle, trumpets; Craig Klein, Lucien Barbarin, Robert Harris, Katja Toivola, trombones; Tom Fischer, James Evans, saxophones; Tim Laughlin, Evan Christopher and myself, clarinets; Kerry Brown, Walter Harris, Herman Lebeaux, Shannon Powell, drums; Lars Edegran, Seva Venet, banjos; Jeffrey Hill, sousaphone.

As the antique horse-drawn hearse advanced, the band played a medley of traditional hymns and dirges. Among them:  Closer Walk, The Old Rugged Cross, Bye and Bye, Lead Me Savior, In the Sweet Bye and Bye, Abide With Me, followed by the more up tempo Second Line. At the church service, which attracted a full house of attendees, the Rev. William Maestri gave the eulogy and Topsy Chapman sang "Amazing Grace" and "His Eye is on the Sparrow."
It was a fitting tribute for a man who shared his passion for traditional jazz with so many people and did so much to record, preserve, and diffuse New Orleans music around the world. R.I.P., George Buck, and thank you.

For more information about George H. Buck and the George H. Buck, Jr. Jazz Foundation:

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