Monday, June 15, 2009

"Preserving" And Promoting Our Treasured Musicians (by Geraldine Wyckoff - Louisiana Weekly)

The following is an excerpt from a lovely article in this week's Louisiana Weekly, written by Geraldine Wyckoff. You can follow this link to the read the rest of the article, including a nice spotlight feature on regular Hall drummer Ernie Elly!

"Even on a sultry, drizzling June night in New Orleans, Preservation Hall packs them in. Fortunately, the tourists who come searching for the traditional jazz that was born in this city are served up the real music that locals might take for granted. What makes it different from some tourist destinations is that the history of jazz lives within its chipped cement walls as well as in the musicians that play within its environs. Those of us who live in New Orleans know these guys such as bassist Walter Payton, who taught many a youngster who attended McDonogh 15 in the Quarter and have gone on to enjoy professional careers themselves. Musicians who have jazz running through their veins-like trumpeter Mark Braud of the legendary Brunious family and Joe Lastie whose Ninth Ward clan helped to create and carry on New Orleans music-remain regulars here.

"Hey, let's go to Preservation Hall tonight," might sound oddly foreign when suggested by residents. But, really, it's not a bad idea for music lovers ready to take a stroll in the early evening and remember what this city is all about - what makes it special. Another enticement is that during the month of July, all shows are half-price for locals - only $5. Oh, and here's something new. You can now bring drinks in plastic cups into the Hall..."

"...The Preservation Hall Jazz Band's latest CD, New Orleans Preservation - Volume 1 presents a similar ambiance as it was recorded live at the St. Peter Street club. It too, offers traditional jazz's many different styles and moods and importantly it includes a wealth of less-mined material.

The album opens with the band's newest member, Clint Maedgen of the eclectic Bingo! Show fame, taking the lead on vocals. A tremendous singer, he's definitely in the spirit of the lively "Short Dressed Girl" with trombonist Freddie Lonzo interjecting some well-placed, dirty slides. Maedgen, who's also heard on tenor saxophone, displays his stylistic range and brings much-appreciated variety to the disc. He easily moves from the swamp pop of "Halloween" with the mandatory piano triplets provided by Rickie Monet to the country and western sounds of "Blue Yodel #9" to the smooth richness of the standard "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire."

Vocal duties are shared by several of the band's talented musicians. Clarinetist Charlie Gabriel takes the microphone on the easygoing "My Sweet Substitute. Meanwhile trumpeter Mark Braud is called in on for more typical numbers like "Tiger Rag" that is pumped by band director Ben Jaffe's sousaphone and "Ice Cream." It's natural that the good-natured and often hilarious Walter Payton takes on "I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate." Standing center stage at the Hall, he animates the song much to the delight of the audience..."

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