Friday, August 21, 2009

PHJB ON THE ROAD: Kuala Lumpur!


Thursday, August 20, 2009
New Orleans in KL
by Sharmilla Ganesan

A living, breathing entity that is intertwined with every aspect of life ... that’s what New Orleans jazz is all about.

IT was like the Pied Piper was in town: seven men, armed with musical instruments, filled the night with the exuberant sounds of New Orleans jazz as they led concert-goers out of the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (DFP) onto the upper foyer. Curious passersby joined the clapping, swaying crowd, and for a few minutes, the outside of the philharmonic hall almost resembled a street carnival. Finally, with one throbbing note of the trombone, the performance ended, a fabulous finale to the showcase of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band (PHJB) held in Kuala Lumpur last weekend.

This, in essence, is what New Orleans jazz is all about. It isn’t confined to a particular place or group of people; rather, it is a living, breathing entity that is intertwined with every aspect of life in New Orleans. After all, it’s not for nothing that the city is known as the birthplace of jazz; it is from here that jazz travelled to places like Chicago and New York City.

“Not a day goes by that you don’t hear live music in New Orleans,” says Ben Jaffe, PHJB’s creative director. “I wake up every morning to the church bells from St James, then the calliope music from boats on the Mississippi (River) starts, and then the bands on the streets play all day long.”

“Music is everywhere in New Orleans!” says 76-year-old PHJB member Charlie Gabriel, a fourth-generation New Orleans musician. “It’s in our people, our food, our environment. When you walk around our city, you’d see people standing in corners playing intruments, or people walking along and just singing. It’s a feeling like no other...”


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this photo is great! It could almost pass for a promo photo for a new sitcom if it wanted to. Like Perfect Strangers or something.