Thursday, February 17, 2011

Album Previews: American Legacies, featuring the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Del McCoury Band (Coming April 12th!)

April 12th is just around the corner, and we couldn't be more excited about this record!  And it looks like we're not the only ones...  Check out these advance reviews and get ready for something special!

From World Music
The Del McCoury Band and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to Release American Legacies on April 12th

 The Del McCoury Band and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band explore the common ground where bluegrass and jazz meet in their collaborative American Legacies project scheduled for release on April 12th via McCoury Music and Preservation Hall Recordings.

Inspired by the success of the Del McCoury’s participation on 2010’s Preservation, a Preservation Hall Jazz Band project made with multiple artists to benefit New Orleans’ unique Preservation Hall venue and its Music Outreach Program, the set offers a dozen songs. Complementing the release, the two groups have announced a joint tour that will feature them performing on their own and together in a groundbreaking concert experience.

With common roots in the rich musical mix of the American south in the 19th and early 20th centuries, bluegrass and jazz have sat alongside one another with a myriad of common influences and musical vocabularies that have nevertheless remained largely unexplored until now.

American Legacies is a tour of songs and sounds that sum up the simultaneous (and often intersecting) histories of two distinctively American musical forms—the jazz that has drawn music lovers from around the world to New Orleans for more than a century, and the “hillbilly jazz” of bluegrass, created more than 60 years ago by Del McCoury’s one-time employer, Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys...
Barry Mazor | February 16th, 2011
There have always been some who see country music and jazz as opposite ends of the American music spectrum—one down home, emotionally straightforward and inclined towards the well-understood and safe; the other urban, sophisticated, even intellectual, and born to go off on unfettered, exploratory tangents. You could, of course, hear that opposition expressed by fans of either sort of music to describe why they’ll have nothing to do with the other. The often beautiful truth, though, is that these two largely domestic products have been bumping into each other and dating seriously, if not going steady, ever since both became more defined commercial styles in the 1920s.

From the jazz band backing on a fair number of Jimmie Rodgers records, and his famed duet with Louis Armstrong through the country breakdown/jazz intersection in Western Swing in the thirties in the hands of Bob Wills and Milton Brown and Bob Dunn, the jazz ties in improvisation and putting the sounds first in bluegrass in the forties, the turn to more complex stringed instrument stylings in the hands of Easterners like Merle Travis, Chet Atkins and Jethro Burns into the fifties, and (in one of Nashville’s worst kept secrets) the many top-line country instrumentalists who’ve played jazz gigs by night ever since, there have been very substantial, ongoing country-jazz connections and conversations. The obvious-enough jazz vocal and guitar leanings of a Willie Nelson were underscored in his 2008 collaboration with Wynton Marsalis; Merle Haggard accented his own long-standing jazz leanings in his 2004 album Unforgettable—and that “Night Life” Ray Price has been singing about for decades is a notably jazzy one...

...Jazz and country share some common history, in that both have sometimes buried ties to very old school American show business, in the music of the minstrel shows and vaudeville, of Tin Pan Alley composers and sentimental pop parlor songs. Those connections will be on display, marvelously so, in the album-length collaboration coming in mid-April from the Del McCoury Band and the national treasure Preservation Hall Jazz Band, American Legacies. It’s a revelation to hear the similarities in manner and approach to the phrasing and vocal flavor of Del himself (always a declared fan of the blues) and PHJB lead singer and sax man Clint Maedgen on such tunes as “Jambalaya,” “I’ll Fly Away,” “Sugar Blues” and “One Has My Name,” all given the traditional New Orleans jazz treatment. The instrumental chops of the whole McCoury gang throughout the disc will remind you that mandolin, banjo, guitar and fiddle were all jazz instruments right along with the brass before the recording industry generally separated them into rural and urban musical divisions. Here they are again, and it’s a blast...

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