This joint tour by an outstanding pair of iconic and incredibly venerable bands (the Blind Boys have been around nearly seven decades; the PHJB nearly five) was precipitated by the Blind Boys' latest CD, Down in New Orleans (Time Life). It was the first time the gospel institution recorded in the Crescent City, whose distinctive flair was added to the Boys' scintillating vocal harmonies by the likes of Allen Toussaint, the Hot 8 Brass Band, and the Preservation Hall crew. The latter, of course, is renowned for preserving traditional New Orleans jazz, but the old hall on St. Peter Street has loosened up in recent years under the leadership of Ben Jaffe, flirting with more contemporary sounds. The PHJB's recent Hurricane Sessions compilation, for instance, includes a luminous version of the Kinks' "Complicated Life" sung by former punker Clint Maedgen over the band's rousing trad ensemble work. By the way, both bands will have notable absences. Longtime Blind Boy Clarence Fountain has retired due to complications from diabetes, although founding member Jimmy Carter continues to lead and Ben Moore has assumed Fountain's role. And PHJB leader and trumpeter John Brunious died last February. Filling his sizable chair will be his 35-year-old nephew John Braud. This show's format will feature sets by each band, including periodic collaborations.
Sun., Oct. 12, 2 p.m., 2008