Preservation Hall Jazz Band

A world-renowned bastion of traditional New Orleans jazz for nearly a half-century, Preservation Hall has weathered two cosmic impacts in recent years. One was Hurricane Katrina, which threatened its economic viability. The other has been Ben Jaffe, whose father Allan founded the place in 1961. The younger Jaffe (who, like his dad, plays tuba with the band), for better or worse, has led the PHJB into a more contemporary realm, expanding the traditional repertoire to include material far outside the canon, introducing younger players with diverse musical backgrounds (leader/trumpeter Mark Braud is in his 30s; singer Clint Maedgan has an experimental/punk background), and matching the venerable outfit with a vast range of nontraditional artists. The PHJB's new album, Preservation, pairs up the band with a mind-boggling cast stretching from Pete Seeger, Del McCoury, Tom Waits, and Merle Haggard to Andrew Bird, Jason Isbell, and Ani DiFranco. While the results are undeniably musically invigorating, the risk is that the traditional core will eventually get lost. Not much danger of that here, where the PHJB will team up with the Minnesota Orchestra on such New Orleans standards as "Bourbon Street Parade" and "The Saints." (Photo by Shannon Brinkman)
Sat., March 20, 8 p.m., 2010

 
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