Dr. Michael White's Liberty Brass Band

French Quarter Fest

April 17, 2004

Dr. Michael White was an imposing figure. When I approached the brass band stage Saturday afternoon at The French Quarter Festival, I knew which player was clarinetist Michael White.

Far left on the stage, dressed in a tie and a black and white hat, he exuded peace, confidence, and knowledge. Even though there was a brass band symposium going on at the old U.S. Mint, I wanted a lesson and a demonstration. Helping White out were trombonist Freddy Lonzo, trumpeters Gregg Stafford and Marc Braud, tuba player Lucien Barbarin, saxophonist Daniel Farrow and drummers Herman Lebeaux and Lawrence Batiste.

The twenty year-old band played marches, and during a song break, White explained how proper jazz funerals are conducted. The band demonstrated the two parts of a jazz funeral: first, the dirge. Second, the joyous second line.

Praise be to the person who was dancing with the black umbrella in the crowd. White's band had me stomping my foot and happy to be in New Orleans.

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