It wasn’t planned as a jazz funeral, but if you walked into the Green Parrot Saturday afternoon you could have heard these lines from St. James Infirmary:
“When I die want you to dress me in straight lace shoes
I wanna a boxback coat and a Stetson hat
Put a twenty dollar gold piece on my watch chain
So the boys’ll know that I died standing flat”
This verse recited onstage at a memorial service on Saturday for our friend Coy Lebeau, who passed at the age of 41 just a week or so ago in New Orleans.
His wife Cerulleal, pictued above wearing Coy’s hat and flanked by Nicki and Tommy, two of Coy’s oldest friends, arrived in Key West a few days ago and was here to remember Coy, have a few rounds and trade stories and wonder how could it be that these outrageous stories could have no sequel. How could it end so soon.
If anyone deserved a “Funeral with Music” as it is called in New Orleans, it was Coy.
We really had none of the essentials of a jazz funeral prepared for Saturday (jazzfest in New Orleans) , but what we did have was The Brass Section from Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band who were camped out in our band house just a few steps away.
Derrick asked bandmate Greg to come aboard and he brought out his baritone sax, introduced himself to Blue and in typical New Orleans fashion, got on stage and after Derrick recited the verse quoted above began their acoustic rendition of that somber dirge, St James Infirmiry.
I want six crap shooters for my pallbearers,
and a chorus girl to sing me a song
Place a jazz band on my hearse wagon,
just to raise hell as we roll along
Traditionally, a change in the tenor of the ceremony takes place after
members of the procession say their final good bye and they “cut the body loose”. After this the music becomes more upbeat, often starting with a hymn or spiritual number played in a swinging fashion. The boys obliged by giving us a rousing second line version of “Saints”