Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ben Jaffe and Preservation Hall on the Bob Edwards Blog

If you listen to NPR at all, you're probably familiar with the work of Bob Edwards.

About a month ago, during the first weekend of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Mr. Edwards stopped by the Hall to speak with our Creative Director Ben Jaffe for a recent series of interviews with New Orleans musicians.

The interview airs today on Bob Edwards Sirus / XM radio show!

If you're not fortunate enough to have access to satellite radio, you can check out the reflections of senior producer Chad Campbell at the Bob Edwards Radio Blog as he talks about their visit to Preservation Hall.

Ben Jaffe and Preservation Hall
by Chad Campbell, senior producer

As you’ve probably heard by now, Bob, fellow producer Geoffrey Redick and I went down to New Orleans for the first weekend of the city’s annual Jazz and Heritage Festival in late April. We recorded 12 interviews with 12 musicians all over the city in all kinds of settings. My favorite was Ben Jaffe AT Preservation Hall in the French Quarter. He was kind enough to meet us at 9am on a Sunday morning, just five hours after wrapping up a show with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Jaffe plays tuba and double bass and is the band’s director. As we waited outside, Jaffe rode up on an old bicycle painted Saints gold and covered in stickers - his trademark reddish afro bobbing with each push of a pedal. The building is about 260 years old, as Bob pointed out OLDER than this country and was first a private residence, then a Spanish tavern, then who knows what. It’s only been Preservation Hall for the last 49 years. (Click here for a virtual tour of the property). After showing us around the main room where the band performs and the crowd sits on benches along the walls, and on cushions on the floor, Jaffe surprised us by opening up his family’s old living quarters for the rest of the interview. It’s mostly one big room, with a bedroom/office up in the old hay loft. That was once his parents “room” and below that was a kitchen that the Jaffe’s turned into Ben’s brother’s bedroom. The main room is now chock full of knick-knacks, a collection of tuba player figurines here, dozens of mouthpieces for old tubas and horns there, a hand-crank player piano in an alcove along with a whole bunch of stuff collected by Ben’s father Allan Jaffe, who along with his wife Sandra, started the Hall in 1961...

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