“King” Richard Matthews R.I.P.

When a man of Matthews’ stature in the tight knit brass band community of New Orleans dies, dozens of musicians turn out to play their respects and send him off with a jazz funeral.  Members of the Tremé, Storyville Stompers and the Original Royal Players turned out in large numbers.  The group of over twenty musicians also included numerous alumni of the Olympia Brass Band, which Matthews led for four decades.

The ensemble arrived with instruments blaring from around the corner and proceeded to parade through the Charbonnet-Labat Funeral Home in the Tremé neighborhood.  They played a gentle dirge as the body was brought out and Matthews’ trademark top hat and cape were delicately placed on the rear of the horse-drawn hearse.

James Andrews and William Smith  anchored the trumpet section along with Matthews’ family member, Mervin Campbell, and Kenneth Terry, Ken Ferdinand and others.

The trombone section included Craig Klein and Bryon Bernard was on saxophone.  The rhythm section featured several snare drummers including Kerry Brown and Benny Jones, the leader of the Tremé Brass Band.  “Uncle” Lionel Batiste, also of the Tremé, was at times stoic and then ribald fitting his irrepressible personality.


There were five Grand Marshals including “Bo Monkey” Jones- a veteran of numerous jazz funerals and second line parades.  He led the band into the Candlelight Lounge at the conclusion of the ritual send off. (photos by Dylan Stansbury)

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