Tag Archives: Preservation Hall Jazz Band


Preservation Hall Jazz Band Deliver a Taste of New Orleans

July 31st, 2017

Preservation Hall Jazz Band – Space at Westbury – July 28, 2017

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band means tradition so deeply felt that when you see and hear them in action, you’re reminded that even your most cinematic visions of New Orleans jazz pale in comparison. They’re what you feel like you want to remember—any more might complicate their down-home charm—and all while balancing virtuosic musical chops with big smiles and a well-honed feel for how to compose a show and keep an audience brimming. They’re showmen. They come across smooth, soulful and liberated. Laissez le bon temps rouler at the Space at Westbury or anywhere else they come to hang.

One of the less-discussed aspects of the current version of Pres Hall is how deftly bassist, tuba player and creative director Ben Jaffe has steered them into a modern era, with younger players gradually replacing the veterans in the road band. Along with Jaffe, the lineup features saxophonist Clint Maedgen, trombonist Ronell Johnson, trumpet player Branden Lewis, drummer Walter Harris and keyboardist Kyle Roussel. More than half of the touring group has come on over the last five years. The roots of Pres Hall are well preserved, but Jaffe and team have prevented the band from becoming a museum piece—quite the opposite, as evidenced by how hot they cook when they really get going. In recent years, they’ve collaborated everywhere, from TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek producing this year’s So It Is—astonishingly, the first Preservation Hall Jazz Band album of original music—to guest appearances with everyone from Dave Grohl and My Morning Jacket to Maren Morris and Beck. Their authentic vibe is deep and homey, and everyone wants a piece of it. And what’s more, the band’s infused that vibe into So It Is, which plays up the potent connections between Crescent City and Cuba.

On Friday night, they were equal parts Mardi Gras rave-up and Havana street scene, intermixing ageless NOLA classics like “Tootie Ma Is a Big Fine Thing” with So It Is cuts like “Santiago” and “La Malanga.” The horn players took turns fronting the band, delivering sizzling solos, stoking the crowd, riding grooves that were straight-ahead, or slow-and-serpentine or viscous. If you were expecting a polite supper-club crowd clapping along to “Basin Street Blues,” you instead got pulsating jams—some downright ferocious, like late night at a Frenchmen Street club or, well, Preservation Hall itself. At the outset of the encore, Johnson and Jaffe paired off as a duo of ’bone and tuba for a sing-along “That Bucket’s Got a Hole in It.” And before that came an impassioned speech from Jaffe filled with childhood memories of family members on Long Island, but more important, a capture of what this band was, is and remains: “Those are real instruments played by real people, y’all.” As if we needed to be reminded. —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson


Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes – Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell – August 4, 2015

August 5th, 2015

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes - Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell - August 4, 2015

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.wordpress.com


Spend Saturday Night with Preservation Hall Jazz Band at the Apollo

November 15th, 2013

The venerable Preservation Hall Jazz Band (above, performing “That’s It” on Jimmy Kimmel Live!) have been playing sweet, sweet traditional New Orleans jazz for more than half a century. With such a long lifespan, the lineup has obviously changed over the years since the group first found a home at Preservation Hall in the French Quarter in the 1960s. But the eight-piece, led by creative director (and sousaphonist and bassist) Ben Jaffe, remain loyal jazz ambassadors, bringing the gift of NOLA music across the country and even the world, while still finding time to record and release new material, like this year’s That’s It! (stream it below), and perform with the likes of My Morning Jacket, Dr. John and the Black Keys. And you can see them at the world renowned Apollo Theater tomorrow.

(Preservation Hall Jazz Band will be a part of My Morning Jacket’s One Big Holiday at the Hard Rock Hotel in Mexico’s Mayan Riviera in January.)


One Big Holiday Is Now Even Bigger

October 31st, 2013

As if My Morning Jacket’s four-night beach-destination concert adventure One Big Holiday at the Hard Rock Hotel in Mexico’s Mayan Riviera weren’t already shaping up to be pretty epic—with three “totally unique shows plus an off-the-hook dance party hosted by the band that promises plenty of surprises”—it’s recently gotten even bigger with the addition of the Flaming Lips (above, doing “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1”), Preservation Hall Jazz Band (MMJ with horns!), Mariachi El Bronx and Thievery Corporation’s Rob Garza. Of course, it’s not totally about the music. There will also be plenty of other activities, like daily yoga classes, tequila tastings, theme nights and all sorts of off-site excursions. This is something not to miss: It’s One Big Holiday.


Preservation Hall Jazz Band – Carnegie Hall – January 7, 2012

January 9th, 2012

Photos courtesy of Michael Jurick | music.jurick.net


The South Rises in Williamsburg

August 2nd, 2010

Appalachian Voices/Preservation Hall Jazz Band – Music Hall – July 30, 2010


Appalachian Voices with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Two ends of the roots-music sonic spectrum were on display during Friday’s show at Music Hall of Williamsburg, as New Orleans’ Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Kentucky’s Appalachian Voices teamed up to bring a diverse night of Southern sounds to the Brooklyn landscape. Approaching its sixth decade of exploring the traditional jazz of the Crescent City, Preservation Hall opened with a rollicking 35-minute set covering such vintage classics as “Short Dressed Gal” and “Sweet Substitute.”

The Appalachian Voices singers joined the fray with Jim James grinding on a dirty “Blue Yodel No. 9” and Daniel Martin Moore guiding a gentle “Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea.” James closed out the collaboration by swinging a towel over his head and howling through an incendiary “St. James Infirmary,” significantly ratcheting up the intensity in the room. Inspired by the boisterous response, Preservation Hall’s Clint Maedgen immediately led the band through a more tribal and equally intense reprise to close out the set before an obviously excited crowd.

Headliner Appalachian Voices reversed the vibe with a subdued and poignant antidote to the opener’s raucous set. With James thanking the audience for remaining quiet and focusing on the evening’s messages about the beauty of Appalachia and the dangers of mountaintop removal, the quartet combined elements of folk, blues, bluegrass and jazz throughout their nearly two-hour performance. While the My Morning Jacket canon would be unavoidable, including a particularly explosive “Smokin’ from Shootin’,” rock star James often faced upstage and yielded the attention to his less-famous-but-nonetheless-worthy coconspirators, Moore and cellist Ben Sollee, the latter delighting with spiraling and occasionally funky cello solos that were met with loud ovations.

Singing of the Appalachian people, pathos abounded in stirring songs, like “Try,” “My Wealth Comes to Me,” and Lead Belly’s “Sylvie,” in which James thrillingly channeled Roy Orbison. The encore featured a droning, thunderous combination of both bands on “Dear Companion” and a driving cover of “Save the Last Dance for Me,” which sent the enthused assembly buoyantly bounding off into the Brooklyn night. —Brian Ferdman

Photo © Matúš Bence | http://idijot.tumblr.com

(My Morning Jacket plays Terminal 5 five times in October. Tickets remain available for the 10/18 and 10/19 shows.)