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An Album to Benefit Preservation Hall & the Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program (Deluxe Version)

Preservation Hall Jazz Band

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Album Review

Preservation: An Album to Benefit Preservation Hall & the Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program finds a bevy of name artists from across the musical spectrum performing with the storied New Orleans jazz band. What on first glance could be a gimmicky idea is actually anything but that. While the artists included here are from a wide array of disparate backgrounds and styles, the result is an organic, inspired, and solid collection of performances that truly make sense within the New Orleans jazz tradition of Preservation Hall. Standout numbers come from artists like Chicago indie stalwart Andrew Bird, who delivers a loose and rambling version of "Shake It and Break It," and singer/songwriter Ani DiFranco, who imbues the old-time standard "Freight Train" with a swinging confidence. Elsewhere, country legend Merle Haggard is a pure delight on the laid-back and bluesy "Basin Street Blues," as are Del McCoury, Pete Seeger, Dr. John, Angélique Kidjo, and Steve Earle, among others, on their respective tracks. Guest singers aside, it is the Preservation Hall Jazz Band itself that truly shines here. Featuring a mix of longtime New Orleans names like bassist Walter Payton and clarinet player Charlie Gabriel alongside relative up-and-comers like trumpeter Mark Braud and vocalist/reedman Clint Maedgen, the band is in peak form here. Also included are guest spots by such well-known New Orleans natives as trumpeter Terence Blanchard, trombonist Lucien Barbarin, and many others. Ultimately, Preservation works as it is intended — as an homage to one of the longest-running musical institutions in the country and the important place it holds in keeping New Orleans jazz alive — as well as simply being one heck of a great listen.

Biography

Formed: 1961 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Although New Orleans' traditional jazz scene had many top players in the 1950s, there was no one center for the city's veteran greats to play. In 1961, local art dealer Larry Borenstein opened a building in the French Quarter called Preservation Hall. The young tuba player Allan Jaffe ran the hall and organized tours for the musicians who often performed there, naming the band after the venue. In the Hall's early days, the key musicians included, at various times, trumpeters Kid Thomas Valentine,...
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An Album to Benefit Preservation Hall & the Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program (Deluxe Version), Preservation Hall Jazz Band
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