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Armstrong: When the Saints go marching in

Here's a hint: It's a classic of New Orleans Jazz!

The New Orleans Mardi Gras celebration just wouldn’t be the same if it didn’t have jazz as its soundtrack. After all, New Orleans is the central birthplace of jazz! Early jazz got its start from gospel music and African American folk songs. Dixieland bands would often use melodies from these tunes and create their own unique versions to play in the jazz club. Perhaps the most recognizable tune of New Orleans jazz is “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

Louis Armstrong was one of the first great jazz leaders to make the song into a popular tune, and now the song is the trademark anthem of the city of New Orleans. Even the New Orleans Saints are named after this famous tune! In fact, the song is so popular that it is nicknamed “The Monster” by some jazz musicians. This is because it seems to be the only tune some people know to request when seeing a Dixieland band, and some musicians dread being asked to play it several times a night.

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