Monday, July 26, 2010

Another Nice Performance Review from Minneapolis

From Preservation Hall to the Dakota:
The Saints Are Marchin’ in High Fashion
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor, Jazz Police
Friday, 23 July 2010

They don’t call it “Preservation Hall” for nothing. The first time I set foot in what might be the world’s tiniest commercial jazz venue in 1981, I recall my wonder that five or six musicians could make such vibrant music night after night for an audience crammed wall to wall. Back then, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band was comprised of a handful of septu- and octogenarians, meaning they could have been cohorts of Louis Armstrong in his early days. Now the popularity of the PHJB extends far beyond the early 19th century building on St. Peter Street in the French Quarter, and there are perhaps more than a dozen jazz musicians who rotate playing in the hall or on tour. One of those tours brought the band to the Dakota Jazz Club, a much larger venue than their home base, and a much smaller venue than their usual tour stop. In the Twin Cities, PHJB has appeared at the old Guthrie Theater (where they recorded their first commercial album) and at Orchestra Hall, but this week was their first club gig here. And it was an ideal way to enjoy the band and their deep reverence for the birthplace of jazz—comfortably intimate.

The contrast to Preservation Hall was rather extreme—the Dakota stage is larger than the entire Hall; Dakota patrons sit at tables and order food and drink, while in the Hall, mostly tourists line against the walls or sit on the floor with no amenities beyond the music and the smell of history. But regardless of context, this was purely New Orleans music, and most of the tunes (including “Whenever You’re Lonesome,” “Tiger Rag,” “You Are My Sunshine,” and of course “When The Saints Go Marchin’ In”) have been in the PJHB repertoire since the band first formed in the early 60s. The musicians themselves spread across more generations than the original band, with bassist/tuba player/director Ben Jaffe apparently the youngest (in his late 30s). The son of the Hall’s founders, Jaffe grew up literally on the knee of the PHJB members, and joked that one of his former students is none other than trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, now artistic director for jazz at Orchestra Hall and in the audience for Tuesday night’s final set. Well, he was not in the audience for long, coming on stage to join the band and duke it out with the other horns...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Historic Preservation at the Dakota" (performance review, Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

Historic Preservation at the Dakota
for The Minneapolis Star-Tribune
by Chris Riemenschneider

It’s always a tad disappointing seeing Dixieland kings the Preservation Hall Jazz Band perform anywhere besides their namesake French Quarter venue/hole-in-the-wall, but last night’s third of four gigs at the Dakota still felt closer to the real thing than their usual Orchestra Hall appearances. This week’s shows were (somewhat amazingly) the PHJB’s first stint at the Dakota. As the Dakota’s Lowell Pickett noted in his introduction, “They don’t usually play venues this small … except in their hometown.”

The intimacy certainly added a level of magic to some of the slower, softer numbers, including a bluesy rendition of “My Sweet Substitute” led by clarinetist Charlie Gabriel and a heart-string-pulling instrumental version of “A Closer Walk to Thee.” Other highlights included a slightly Latin-jazzed take on “St. Louis Blues” by trombone player Freddy Lonzo and, best of all, a spirited tear through “Tootie Ma Is a Big Fine Thing,” which Tom Waits sings on the new all-star PHJB charity CD, “Preservation.”
Bassist/sousaphonist Ben Jaffe, whose parents founded the hall/band in 1961, noted the group’s historical ties to Minneapolis during Tuesday's early set: It was the first place they performed outside of Louisiana, and they recorded their first CD, “Sweet Emma,” at the original Guthrie Theater in 1964. Jaffe also told a sweet story about being a kid and taking a call from legendary New Orleans trumpeter Al Hirt – whose name he thought was pronounced “Hoyt” – in honor of Hirt’s widow Beverly, a local resident watching from one of the booths. New Orleans and Minneapolis seem to grow closer every year.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Free Subscription to Spin Magazine! ("Ain't My Fault")

To encourage more music fans to pitch in and help the effort to clean up the ongoing crisis in the Gulf Coast, Spin Magazine is now offering a free, one-year subscription to anyone who purchases "Ain't My Fault" from iTunes.

In other words, for 99 cents, you get a great song, a subscription to one of the worlds premier Music Magazines, and the knowledge that you've done a small part to aid in the clean-up of the worst oil disaster in American history.

New "Ain't My Fault" video on Yahoo! Music

Today on Yahoo! Music, check out the premiere of the NEW EDIT of the music video for "It Ain't My Fault," the benefit track by the Gulf Aid Allstars featuring Mos Def, Lenny Kravitz, Trombone Shorty, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. This new edit by Richard Gonzalez and Dean Gonzalez combines shocking never-before-seen images from the ongoing Gulf Oil Spill Crisis with the footage from the live recording session at Preservation Hall in New Orleans.

Don't forget, “Ain’t my Fault” is still available for download via iTunes as a single (99 cents) or video ($1.99). All proceeds are being distributed by the Gulf Relief Foundation ( to support organizations focused on wetlands/coastal environmental issues and the regional seafood industry. Please CLICK HERE to visit iTunes and support this important cause!

Monday, July 12, 2010

"PRESERVATION" in Relix Magazine!

A nice review from Relix magazine. It's on newsstands now, if you'd like a copy for keepsies!

reviewed by Mike Greenhaus
for Relix Magazine

published on 07/09/10

New Orleans’ legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band is the latest group to receive a reboot with the help of some famous friends on the all-star benefit album Preservation.
Notably better than the average collaborative effort, Preservation succeeds because the lauded ensemble remains commitment to traditional, Dixieland New Orleans jazz. Though the album’s celebrity guests are associated with such diverse styles as indie-folk ( Andrew Bird, Cory Chisel ), alt-country ( Jason Isbell, Steve Earle ), singer/songwriter ( Richie Havens, Ani DiFranco ), American roots music ( Pete Seeger, Del McCoury, Blind Boys of Alabama ) and places in between ( Tom Waits, Angelique Kidjo ), each performer essentially curbs his individual voice to fit with Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s distinctive sound. Album highlights include Jim James’ delivery of “Louisiana Fairytale” through a retro-New Orleans bullhorn, and a lost recording by jazz pioneer Louis Armstrong.

Friday, July 2, 2010

July 4th - Del McCoury and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on American Routes!

Whatever your plans are for this Fourth of July weekend, make sure you tune into American Routes for a rebroadcast of their show featuring Ponderosa Stomp, Del McCoury Band, and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Hour two of the program features a performance of PHJB and the Del McCoury Band recorded live at Preservation Hall's 2009 Midnight Preserves series. It's the perfect blend of Americana for your holiday weekend!

Radio Broken?
Now you can listen online!
Just do like the radio says - Click to listen!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

St. James Infirmary video wins an ADDY!

Congratulations to James Tancill and Jeffrey Lush for picking up a SILVER ADDY for Special Effects in Video or Film at this year's National ADDY Awards for their work on the Saint James Infirmary (King Britt Remix) video!
The ADDY Awards is the world’s largest advertising competition, bringing in over 60,000 entries each year. It is arguably the world’s toughest advertising competition with entries of all media types coming from anywhere in the world. It is conducted by the American Advertising Federation, a not-for-profit industry association that contains 200 member advertising clubs and 15 districts.

Haven't watched it lately? Check it out again - it's a winner!

And don't forget -
The video is still available for purchase on iTunes as part of the
Preservation Hall Hot 4 / St. Peter Street Serenade package!
Five songs and Three videos for $3.99!

More info about University of Louisiana Faculty members
James Tancill and Jeffrey Lush at!