Tuesday, March 31, 2009


The Preservation Hall Jazz Band of New Orleans is proud to announce the release of their brand new recording, New Orleans Preservation, Vol. 1. Recorded January 20-22 in the hallowed venue from which they derive their name, this exciting new CD features the stellar multi-generational lineup currently represented in their extensive international touring schedule. Boasting an impressive collection of classic gems of traditional New Orleans jazz as sung by Charlie Gabriel, Mark Braud, Walter Payton, and Clint Maedgen, this album faithfully reproduces all the energy and spirit that has made this all-star lineup an international sensation for almost fifty years. Available at retailers throughout New Orleans, online at PreservationHall.com, and at any of the group’s hundred-plus yearly tour dates, New Orleans Preservation, Volume 1 is living proof that Traditional New Orleans Jazz is alive and well in the Crescent City and beyond.


Check out these 14 amazing tracks!
1. Short Dressed Gal
First recorded by Sam Morgan’s Jazz Band in 1927, this swinging version features vocals by Clint Maedgen and a lively call and response chorus.
2. Sweet Substitute
Originally recorded by Jelly Roll Morton and subsequently revisited by dozens of artists over the years, this version features the sweet vocals of senior PHJB member and fourth-generation New Orleans musician Charlie Gabriel.
3. El Manicero
Originally introduced to the PHJB repertoire by Billie and Dede Pearce, El Manicero represents a New Orleans take on a traditional West Indian street vendor’s market song and features Charlie Gabriel’s playful clarinet over a gentle afro-caribbean harmony.
4. Sugar Blues
Previously recorded for 2005’s The Hurricane Sessions CD, this revisitation features band leader Mark Braud performing the vocals and trumpet parts formerly laid down by his uncle, former band leader John Brunious, Jr.
5. Chocko Mo Feel No Hey
Based on the popular chant of the Mardi Gras Indians, and featuring lyrical call and response between Charlie Gabriel and the rest of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, “Chocko Mo Feel No Hey” is a wonderful example of a classic New Orleans street song that blends dark lyrics with a joyous melody.
6. Halloween
An homage to the seasonal change that brings cooler weather to the streets of New Orleans after every sweltering summer, “Halloween” is an original composition by Clint Maedgen.
7. Tailgate Ramble
Another lively New Orleans classic with vocals by Charlie Gabriel, the lyrics of “Tailgate Ramble" reference the old-school practice of musicians who would advertise their nightly gigs by driving around and playing their music from the back of pickup trucks on the night of their show.
8. Blue Yodel No. 9
Originally recorded by Jimmy Rodgers and Louis Armstrong, this ballad of a French Quarter hustler sung by Clint Maedgen is a tribute to one of the earliest American recordings to feature interracial players.
9. Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate
This rollicking PHJB show-stopper features the vocal stylings of enigmatic bass player Walter Payton. A staple of the PHJB touring production, the live performance traditionally features a one-man kick-line that must be seen to be believed.
10. I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire
A personal favorite of Preservation Hall founders Allan and Sandra Jaffe, the PHJB tribute to this Ink Spots classic features piano by Rickie Monie, vocals by Clint Maedgen, and the charming spoken back-up vocals of Walter Payton.
11. Tiger Rag
It has been said of this high-energy traditional New Orleans rag that it began its life as a French minuet. Boasting a three-key progression common to that earlier structure, this New Orleans interpretation features the roaring trombone of Freddie Lonzo and vocals by Mark Braud.
12. Westlawn Dirge
Recorded in part as a tribute to the Olympia Brass Band, the famous New Orleans marching band with whom many standing members of the PHJB have played over the years, “Westlawn Dirge” exemplifies the pre-burial tradition of the mournful brass band parade song characteristic to a New Orleans jazz funeral.
13. What A Friend
A hundred-year-old selection from the Baptist hymnal, “What A Friend” follows “Westlawn Dirge” on this album as a tribute to the second-line, post-burial celebratory segment of a New Orleans jazz funeral and is a wonderful example of the New Orleans tradition of adapting religious tunes into a street-friendly format.
14. Ice Cream
Sweet and fun, this crowd-pleasing sing-along led by Mark Braud also appears on the very first PHJB recording, Sweet Emma and her Preservation Hall Jazz Band, from 1964.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Four Songs from PHJB on Daytrotter.com!

Recently, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band took two hours out of their travels between shows to stop in for a Daytrotter Session at Futureappletree Studio One in downtown Rock Island, Ill. Daytrotter.com is a music and entertainment website whose mission it is to showcase wonderful groups from all musical walks via in-studio performances and interview.

Presently on Daytrotter.com, there are four PHJB tracks available to stream or download: Dippermouth Blues, Sugar Blues, Complicated Life, and Over In The Gloryland. Each song features accompanying notes from Ben Jaffe detailing the song's relevance to the touring group and annecdotes from the road.

Here's what Daytrotter.com has to say about the Preservation Hall Jazz Band: "The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, a rotating group of some of the most esteemed musicians in New Orleans, are all kinds of big easy – the mindset, not the proper noun. They are consummate professionals, but it doesn’t lend itself to a stuffy or by the numbers brand of jazz music. It’s a style that waltzes, lurches and whistles Dixie. It is dripping with the bourbon flairs that might be transcendent there in the streets and the waters, living there amongst a proud group of people who regularly show their elasticity and that pride in the way New Orleans is pulled off, the way that it’s perpetrated and seasoned..."

Read more and check out the music at Daytrotter.com!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Voodoo Fest and City Park at odds over date, jeopardizing the 2009 music festival

Posted by Keith Spera, Music writer, The Times-Picayune March 23, 2009 10:39PM

Will the Voodoo Experience, one of New Orleans' major music festivals, disappear from City Park this fall?

The festival's producers announced in February that the 11th annual Voodoo Experience would be in City Park on Halloween weekend, Oct. 30-Nov. 1. That represented a change from Voodoo's original dates of Oct. 23-25.

But then City Park chief operating officer Robert Becker informed Voodoo producer Stephen Rehage that Halloween weekend was unavailable.

"We're booked," Becker said. "That's the whole purpose of advance booking. We're contracted for four weddings and we have a fundraising event. We told (Rehage) that he has to go to the date that Voodoo reserved, and has been for years."

Relive Voodoo Fest 2008: View photos from the music festival!

However, as recently as Feb. 16, City Park's online calendar of events apparently listed Voodoo as scheduled for "Halloween weekend."

Rehage said he believed he had approval from City Park to stage the festival on Halloween weekend. He noted that his company, Rehage Entertainment, has a long and productive history with City Park.

"We've done over 50 events in City Park," he said. "I live across the street from the park. I want Voodoo to be in City Park. But we don't have an option to be there right now."

: Large crowds turned out at the big stages at the Voodoo Music Experience's 10th annual festival last year.

All but one of the 10 previous Voodoo festivals has taken place in City Park. Hurricane Katrina's flooding of the park forced a scaled down version of the 2005 Voodoo to move to Riverview Park between the Audubon Zoo and the Mississippi River.

Rehage declined to elaborate on his options should he not be able to stage the 2009 Voodoo in City Park on Halloween weekend.

Major festivals such as Voodoo generally book headlining bands months in advance and pay sizeable, non-refundable deposits. Once a band is locked in, dates are difficult to change without affecting the routing of an entire tour.

At least one official of a nonprofit organization that raises money for City Park's upkeep believes turning away a high-profile, multimillion-dollar event such as Voodoo in favor of weddings is not a good decision.

"It makes no sense," said attorney Jimmy Fahrenholtz, co-chair of the Friends of City Park membership committee. "We're looking for allies to bring the park back, and we're running off one of the few things that makes sense for the utilization of the park."

Fahrenholtz said that City Park's board of commissioners is slated to meet on Tuesday, March 24.

We'll Miss You Eddie

New Orleans pianist Eddie Bo dies of heart attack
3/20/09 11:27PM GMT
By STACEY PLAISANCE , Associated Press Writer

New Orleans blues singer-pianist Eddie Bo, who worked with musicians such as Irma Thomas and Art Neville, has died of a heart attack. He was 79.

His death was confirmed Friday by his close friend and booking agent, Karen Hamilton.

Hamilton said Eddie Bo, whose real name was Edwin Joseph Bocage, had a "sudden, massive heart attack" while out of town Wednesday. She said he "went very quickly, very peacefully."

Bocage was an accomplished keyboardist-pianist with a career spanning more than five decades. Hamilton said he counted Professor Longhair as one of his biggest inspirations.

An accomplished songwriter, Bocage penned the 1960 Etta James hit "My Dearest Darling" and "I'm Wise," which was made famous by Little Richard when renamed and released in 1956 as "Slippin' and Slidin'".

Bocage released more than 50 singles in his career - a number second only to Fats Domino among New Orleans artists - including "Check Mr. Popeye" in 1962.

"That was probably his biggest hit," said friend and musician Gregory Davis, 52, a trumpet player for the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. "That song kept him working for a long time."

Early in his career, Bocage toured with singers Joe Turner, Lloyd Price and the late Ruth Brown and Earl King. But he spent most of his career with New Orleans musicians, among them soul singer Irma Thomas, R&B singer Robert Parker and singer-keyboardist Art Neville, the eldest of The Neville Brothers.

"He knew his craft," said Thomas, who added that Bocage was one of the first people she worked with when she entered the business in the early 1960s. One of her first shows away from New Orleans was with Bocage in Atlanta with R&B singer Gladys Knight as the opening act, she recalled.

Thomas also performed regularly at a nightclub Bocage ran in the city from the late 1970s to early 1980s, she said. But Thomas' fondest memory of Bocage had nothing to do with music, she said.

"We loved going fishing," she said with a chuckle. "We used to go all the time, and that's my favorite memory of him."

After a stint abroad in the U.S. Army, Bocage attended the Grunewald School of Music in New Orleans. That's where he developed a unique style of piano playing and arranging that incorporated bebop voicings, influenced by Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson, according to a biography on his Web site.

Hamilton said Bocage was looking forward to performing at this year's New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. He was a regular at the popular outdoor musical event and was slated to perform there on April 26.

Besides music, Bocage was also known for his carpentry skills. He repaired the wind damage to the roof of his house after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Hamilton said. And when he wanted to open his own restaurant, he converted an old office building into the cafe he named, "Check Your Bucket" after his 1970 hit. It was flooded during Katrina and wasn't reopened.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Pete Seeger's Turning 90... at Madison Square Garden!

And the Preservation Hall Jazz Band will be there!(Click the poster for a larger view of this amazing lineup!)

That's right! Friday, May 3rd in beautiful New York City, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band has signed onto an extensive all-star roster celebrating the Ninetieth Birthday of one of America's greatest. Born in 1919, Pete Seeger is one of the most influential singer-songwriters and political activists to emerge from the mid-twentieth century American folk music revival. Featuring performances from a gargantuan number of living legends, all proceeds from the concert will go to benefit the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, an organization founded by Seeger and his wife in 1966 to protect and preserve the environmental integrity of the Hudson River.

Here's a clip of Pete Seeger performing in 1965 with contemporaries Ramblin' Jack Elliot (who will be at the birthday party!) and Malvina Reynolds -

And a wonderful clip from the PBS American Masters Series, Pete Seeger: The Power Of Song -


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ben Jaffe at the Grand Ole Opry!

A couple of weekends ago, Ben made a trip to Nashville for the Grand Ole Opry! Here's some video and photos from this historic trip featuring Ben and our favourite Bluegrass legend Mr. Del McCoury.

And if you didn't know yet, The Del McCoury Band and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band will be performing together here in New Orleans at Preservation Hall During Jazzfest!  April 26th!
Buy Tickets by clicking HERE

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Roger E. Burgess Jr., 67


On March 3rd, Roger Burgess passed away at Georgetown University Hospital. A longtime Foreign Service officer, carrousel afficianado, skilled trombonist, and fan of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Mr. Burgess and his family have asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made on his behalf to Preservation Hall. It is a very moving sentiment, and we wish to thank him and his family for the kind gesture. We would also like to thank Mr. Burgess for the kindness shown to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band by he and his wife while the group was on tour in Leningrad many years ago. Roger's daughter tells the story this way:

When my father served as Administrative Officer of the U.S. Consulate General in Leningrad in the former Soviet Union between 1978-1980, the Preservation Hall Band was invited to Leningrad as part of the Arts in Embassy program. My mother remembers that the performance was met with great enthusiasm, the performers appearing at a significant time
in Russion history. It was before the days of Glasnost and Perestroika when "detente" was the catchword of the day. The era was marked by a time of increased trade and cooperation between the two countries, and the preamble to the thaw of the Cold War was at hand.

The Soviet government considered Jazz an acceptable cultural medium,
and what better representative of U.S. culture than Preservation Hall to play for the masses. My father's official role in their visit was to see to their needs throughout their stay in Leningrad. One of his main concerns was the musicians' age and infirmity, many of them being in their seventies. But when the Preservation Hall Band sat down to play, age was forgotten in their skillful, energetic playing. Besides the many official functions the group atteneded, my parents hosted an unofficial party for them in the consulate to which many of the diplomatic community were invited. My mother remembers that it was a spaghetti supper complete with red-checkered tablecloths and candle-stoppered Chianti bottles. Of such little moments, history is made."

While Mr. Burgess was, unfortunately, never able to see the Preservation Hall Jazz Band play at their home venue here in New Orleans, it may be worth noting that there is a poster hanging in our carriageway commemorating the Leningrad visit on which Mr. Burgess and the PHJB had the opportunity to bond and share some memorable time...

To learn more about the life Roger E. Burgess, Jr., please follow this link to the full Washington Post Obituary.

Many thanks to Roger and his family,
~Preservation Hall

Monday, March 9, 2009

Preservation Hall Celebrates Jazz Fest 2009 with Fifth Annual Midnight Preserves Series

Preservation Hall is proud to announce the return of Midnight Preserves, the popular late-night Jazz Fest music series hosted by the world-renowned home of Traditional New Orleans Jazz. Now in its fifth year, Midnight Preserves offers music fans the opportunity to experience intimate performances from legendary New Orleans artists as well as rare small-venue performances from some of the biggest names on the national scene. Tickets are now on sale via ticketweb.com. Performers include Zigaboo and Friends, Marva Wright, Walter Wolfman Washington, The Del McCoury Band, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Leo Nocentelli, Eric McFadden and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Ticket sales will be limited for these intimate performances, so click HERE to order in advance!

Friday, April 24, 11:59pm -
Zigaboo and Friends with special guest Marva Wright, $25 (early purchase price!)
Saturday, April 25, 11:59pm -
Zigaboo and Friends with special guest Walter Wolfman Washington, $25 (early purchase price!)
Sunday, April 26, 8:30pm -
The Del McCoury Band and Preservation Hall Jazz Band, $25
Sunday, April 26, 11:00pm -
The Del McCoury Band and Preservation Hall Jazz Band, $25
Thursday, April 30, 11:59pm -
Rebirth Brass Band, $15 (early purchase price!)
Friday, May 1, 11:59pm -
The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, $20
Saturday, May 2, 11:59pm -
Eric McFadden, Leo Nocentelli and Friends, $25

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

PHJB and Blind Boys of Alabama: On the Road Again!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you may already know, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band has had the distinct honor of touring with five-time Grammy Winners the Blind Boys Of Alabama over the course of the last year. The Down By The Riverside Tour has been a great success, and a whole bunch of fun for everybody involved. And they just keep going! If you'd like to know when they'll be visiting a town near you, click HERE to be directed to the PHJB touring schedule, complete with Down By The Riverside dates in March and April. (More dates to come!)

If you're not in a position to be able to get out to any of these great shows, fear not! Please enjoy the following video featuring the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the Blind Boys of Alabama in performance at the National Geographic headquarters!



And for those fans who are looking for a little more, you can click HERE to purchase a DVD featuring the Blind Boys of Alabama in performance with specials guests Dr. John, Susan Tedeschi, Henry Butler, Marva Wright, and of course, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. The DVD is called Live In New Orleans. Here's a brief description:

In the spring of 2008 the Blind Boys of Alabama headed to New Orleans to play a sold-out show at the iconic Crescent City club Tipitina's. The city, of course, was the focus of the band's latest CD, Down in New Orleans, and on that very special night the Blind Boys invited some of their favorite musicians to play with them...