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Best of the Early Years

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Album Review

Showcasing the first three incarnations of New Orleans' pre-eminent, traditional jazz institution, the Preservation Hall, The Best of the Early Years features previously unavailable recordings as well as tracks culled from past releases including the 1964 live recording Sweet Emma and Her Preservation Hall Band as well as the 1966 live recording Billie and De De and Their Preservation Hall Band. Featuring such journeyman New Orleans jazz musicians as trumpeter Percy Humphrey, alto saxophonist Harold Dejan, trumpeter Milton Batiste, and banjo player Narvin Kimball, the compilation paints a picture of the Preservation Hall as the "rough but honest" torchbearer of its storied city's musical legacy.

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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