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Making The Film

Jazz Parades: Feet Don't Fail Me Now

Film by Alan Lomax
Produced by Alan Lomax
Cinematographer: Jim Brown
Sound: Kenny Delbert, Gary Olsen
Editing: Alison Ellwood assisted by Mark Tobin
Copyright: 1990, Association for Cultural Equity
58 minutes, Color
Original format: 3/4 inch videotape: U-matic, 1990
Distributor: Media_Generation
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Home streaming only. For other permissions apply to Alan Lomax or to the distributor, Media_Generation.


Preview one minute trailer - Comment on film


Jazz Parades is one of five films made from footage that Alan Lomax shot between 1978 and 1985 for the PBS  American Patchwork series (1991). Jazz Parades shows the cathartic Sunday jazz parades of social clubs in New Orleans and an overview of the jazz scene in the convergence of "the Uptown Blacks with the Downtown Creoles." In interviews the participants explain the ritual aspect of "turning loose" the dead, celebrating Mardi Gras, and sublimating violence by dancing in the streets. Their heroes (Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Buddy Bolden, Johnny Dodds, Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, Kid Ory, Manuel Perez, and John Robichaux) started out in the red light district, where the madames became the first patrons of jazz. Crosscutting between African and jazz parades reveal their common links. The documentary features the Majestic Band, the Preservation Hall Band (Willie Humphrey, James "Sing" Miller, Emanuel Sayles, Alonzo Stewart, Kid Thomas Valentine and Chester Zardis) and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band (Greg Davis, Charles Joseph, Kirk Joseph, Roger Lewis, Jenell Marshall and Ephrem Townes) at the Glass House and participating in a funeral parade. Narrated by Alan Lomax. The Association for Cultural Equity’s Alan Lomax Archive channel on YouTube additionally streams outtakes from this film: other strong performances by Flo Anckle and the Majestic Brass Band, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, White Eagles Mardi Gras Indians, Chester Zardis, the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, and Beatrice Austin and Iona Raybon on second lining, funeral parades, and various social aid and pleasure clubs.

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