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New Orleans, Vol. 1

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Album Review

In 1961, art dealer Larry Borenstein opened up Preservation Hall in New Orleans. Run by the young tuba player Allan Jaffe, the hall soon became the unofficial home of the city's top veteran musicians. Over time, the the Preservation Hall Jazz Band was formed and went out on constant tours, spreading the joy of New Orleans jazz around the world. Many major players spent time in the group. One of the most famous versions was in the late '70s — the band heard on this 1977 recording. None of the musicians (trumpeter Percy Humphrey, his brother Willie on clarinet, trombonist Frank Demond (who had replaced the late Jim Robinson), pianist Sing Miller, banjoist/singer Narvin Kimball, drummer Cie Frazier, and Jaffe on tuba) were among the immortals of New Orleans jazz but they fit their roles well. The repertoire on this disc includes Dixieland favorites ("Tiger Rag," "Bill Bailey (Won't You Please Come Home)," and "Panama"); a few spirituals ("Amen," "Over in Gloryland," and "His Eye Is on the Sparrow"); the sentimental "Memories"; and a couple of blues numbers ("Good Blues" and "Joe Avery"). There are no virtuosos in the band, but its ensembles are full of spirit and the music is difficult to listen to without smiling.


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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