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doing—that is, aside from these musicians that I came up with. We knew what was going on in other parts of the country be­cause we travelled a lot, but a lot of people didn't know about New Orleans at all until much later/'
A principal aspect of the first social and geographical settings of jazz, not yet fully documented, is the use of syncopated music at Negro funerals.* Most historians, like many novelists who have been concerned with the colorful sociological roots of the music, have placed this custom almost exclusively in New Orleans. It would be more accurate to estimate that rhythmic funerals were taking place, some years before the turn of the century, all over the South, and, indeed, wherever there was a substantial Negro population.
Eubie Blake, a veteran ragtime pianist and composer, recalls that in the late 1880s and early '90s, when he was a child in Baltimore, funerals of this kind frequently took place, *'Joe Blow would die, and maybe he belonged to some society, so they would get the money together and have a band for his funeral. Those fellows couldn't read, but they sure played ragtime on their horns on the way back from the graveyard—tunes like Bunch of Bhckberrries. Those trombone slides would be going like crazy. My mother said that nothing but low people followed the parades, and she used to whip me because we played ragtime coming back from the graveyard.
*The bands in Baltimore had all the regular instruments, and they had alto horns, or peckhorns as we used to call them, and euphoniums. Charlie Harris was one of the fine musicians who played in those bands; in fact, he was my teacher, and sometimes when I was a kid and those fellows used to get $2 to go out and play an excursion, they would give me a dollar and I would play second cornet to Charlie.
"There were dozens of fine musicians who played ragtime in the parades and at the funerals. Trumpet players like Pike Davis and Preston Duncan; a musician named Emil Daverage, who
* A recreation of one of these ceremonies, with the band playing solemn music on the way to the graveyard and stepping into a lively march on the way back, was presented as a prologue to the motion picture, P&te Kelly*s Blues, released in 1956.