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When The Saints Go Marching In

Funeral New Orleans

Oh when the saints go marching in,
Oh when the saints go marching in,
Oh Lord I want to be in that number,
When the saints go marching in.


Observations of the fallout from this global COVID-19 pandemic and its particular damage to the international Jazz community, and to the Black community in the U.S., makes it clear why the spiritual, “When The Saints Go Marching In” means so much to the early Jazz pioneers of New Orleans. Today, our “Saints” are our First Responders and we should ultimately be grateful for their dedication and sacrifice.

 

Speaking of saints, our musical community is extremely vulnerable to this crisis. Jazz musicians work all kinds of schedules and quite often, late hours. The most successful of them are literal globe trotters, who venture to Europe, Latin America or Asia multiple times a year for paying gigs. The fact that many Jazz practitioners are working elders and others living with various underlying health issues, has also made them extremely susceptible to this virus.

 

In addition, the disproportional fatalities of Black Americans from COVID-19 give evidence to remnants of race and class tensions, similar levels of distrust that most Americans are experiencing during this crisis, as well as to pre-existing health conditions and the difficulties of following public health guidelines while trying to care for family and stay afloat financially.

 

One of the more complicated details to comprehend is that a new definition of First Responder has taken root in our culture. As relatives of New York City firefighters, we are keenly aware of the risks, dangers, protections and compensation associated with that line of work. 911 taught us all a hard lesson. Now other relatives who are supermarket clerks, social workers and in-home mental health wrap-arounds are also at the front lines of the pandemic. It is a frightening proposition. 

 

Our ability to stay at home with food, internet, telephone, electricity, gas and water in relative safety and good health is dependent upon a vast cross-section of all kinds of people. Some traditional First Responders. Most not. Simply put, many of these newly dubbed First Responders are just not trained or compensated as First Responders should be, yet we are all expecting them to behave as if they were. Before this is over, we will really need to look at compensation and training for our people.

 

In the meantime, the saints go marching in…

 

 

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LOUIS ARMSTRONG PERFORMS THE SONG:

 

 

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

 

Wikipedia Article About The Song

 

CBS News Story About The Song

 

64 Parishes Article About The Song

 

Smithsonian Article About COVID-19 & Jazz

 

JazzTimes Article About COVID-19 & Jazz

 

NPR Article About COVID-19 & Black Americans

 

Atlantic Monthly Article About COVID-19 & Black Americans

 

Brookings Institute Article About COVID-19 & Black Americans

 

 

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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.

 

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Philly Jazz Quotes

If it hadn't been for him, there wouldn't have been none of us. I want to thank Mr. Louis Armstrong for my livelihood.
                    Dizzy Gillespie

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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.