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Just A Closer Walk

New Orleans Traditional, arranged by Jock McKenzie

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Just A Closer Walk

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Sheet Music


Duration: 5:00 Minutes

4 Trumpets
1 Horn in F
4 Trombones
1 Tuba
1 Percussion

Trumpet 1 Doubles on Piccolo Trumpet
Percussion section requires: Drum Kit

The tradition of a ‘Jazz Funeral’ is very much part of the culture of New Orleans. Typically a Jazz Funeral begins with a slow march (headed by a brass band) as the deceased is processed by friends and family to the cemetery. Throughout the march the band plays somber hymns and dirges. Once the deceased has been buried or ‘cut loose’, the music becomes more joyful, uplifting and even raucous as those that are present celebrate the life of the deceased. At this point others join in the proceeding by following the funeral party and dance along (known as the ‘second line’).

"Just a Closer Walk with Thee" is a traditional gospel song that has been performed and recorded by many artists in both instrumental or vocal form. “Just A Closer Walk" is perhaps the most frequently played number in the hymn and dirge section of traditional New Orleans jazz funeral music. The title and lyrics of the song allude to the Biblical passage from 2 Corinthians 5:7 which states, "We walk by faith, not by sight" and James 4:8, "Come near to God and he will come near to you." The precise source of the work was unknown until quite recently. Circumstantial evidence strongly suggested it dated back to southern African-American churches of the nineteenth century, prior to the American Civil War, as some personal African-American histories recalling "slaves singing as they worked in the fields a song about walking by the Lord's side."