Feb 7, 2010
Super Bowl Sunday – Saints v. Colts, over-hyped television commercials, good snacks, The Who (what’s left of them) at halftime. No much jazz here, even if the Saints are from New Orleans.
I suspect we’ll get a chorus or two of “When the Saints Go Marching In” over the course of the game. Often referred to as "The Saints," it began as a gospel-type hymn that has taken on certain aspects of folk music over the past fifty years. Though it originated as a spiritual, today people are more likely to hear it played by a Dixieland jazz band.
A traditional use of the song is as a funeral march. In the funeral music tradition of New Orleans, Louisiana, often called the "jazz funeral", while accompanying the coffin to the cemetery, a band would play the tune as a dirge. On the way back from the interment, it would switch to the familiar upbeat "hot" or "Dixieland" style. Louis Armstrong first recorded the definitive version of the song on May 13, 1938, and then re-recorded it some 40 times since then. His version charted in 1939, rising to #10 over four weeks.
The song enjoyed a revival in 1951 when the Weavers (composed of Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, Ronnie Gilbert, and Fred Hellerman) recorded it with Leo Diamond and His Orchestra. Their version rose to number 27, and that same year the Percy Faith Orchestra took it to number 29. In 2005 “When the Saints Go Marchin’ In” became the name of the weeklong relief effort to aid New Orleans victims of hurricane Katrina, and it is the title of a short film about the disaster.
The version I'm posting today is by Hammond B-3 Organ master Jimmy Smith from his Prayer Meetin' album from 1963. This was the band that featured Stanley Turrentine on saxophone, and it was among Smith's best. Also performing were Quentin Warren on guitar and Donald Bailey on drums.
But there's more!
Local New Orleans producer Carlo Nuccio took the unofficial theme of the team, the traditional jazz standard "," and added a chant he'd heard fans yelling at games: "Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?" Local pianist David Torkanowsky brought the jazz cred, and Aaron Neville agreed to handle the vocals; a few weeks later, Nuccio has released an updated version, keeping the same arrangement and many of the same performers, and adding local mainstays Theresa Andersson (vocals) and Jon Cleary (piano), Aaron's son Ivan Neville on organ, and Matt Perrine on tuba and bass. Then he spun the second half of the song into a gospel-styled arrangement, renamed it "Glory Bound," and history was made once again. When The Saints Go Marching In
As for me, I'm making up a mess of jambalaya and red beans and rice, finished off with bread pudding with boubon sauce and enjoying the game. Go Saints!
“Glory Bound” is available for download at TeamGLoryBound.com, and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the track will go to The New Orleans Musicians Clinic, a not-for-profit occupational medicine and wellness partnership offering affordable, comprehensive health care to New Orleans