Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Preservation Hall Celebrates "PresFest" on June 8, 2011

at Preservation Hall

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 – Preservation Hall, New Orleans:  It was fifty years ago this June that Larry Borenstein’s Associated Artists Gallery at 726 St. Peter Street in the French Quarter made the official transition from host of informal jazz jam sessions to a fledgling nightly music venue.  Please join us in celebrating Preservation Hall’s 50th birthday this Wednesday, June 8 in the room where it all started.  Featuring live performances by the Treme Brass Band and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, this evening is sure to be a special night of remembrances, as well as a celebration looking forward to our next half century.  Join us for music in the live room, or mix and mingle with a cross-section of fascinating guests and notable Preservation Hall figures spanning the last half-century in our courtyard.  It’s a family reunion, and you’re invited.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 @ Preservation Hall – 726 St. Peter Street:
Treme Brass Band plays at 8:15 and 9:15pm.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band begins at 10:15.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Preservation Hall's Midnight Preserves, 2011: A Video Recap

It's been nearly three weeks since we wrapped up our seventh annual Midnight Preserves late-night concert series.  Once again, Preservation Hall has been blessed with some amazing performances by some of our favorite performers.  We'd like to thank everybody who participated - we had a great time!

Midnight Preserves 2011 - Preservation Hall - JazzFest - Robert Plant from Adam McCullough on Vimeo.

For those of you who weren't able to join us, check out this great video compilation by music photographer and friend of Preservation Hall, Adam McCullough!  (And join us next year!)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

photos of "Art & Jazz" at the Ogden Museum

If you haven't made it over to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art for the Preservation Hall themed art exhibit "Art & Jazz: Preservation Hall at 50" here's a sneak peek.  The exhibition runs until mid-July!

Monday, May 9, 2011

"Song For My Fathers" In Offbeat Magazine

Check out this article in Offbeat about the upcoming "Song For My Fathers" performances at Le Chat Noir:

Tom Sancton, meet Tom Sancton
by Zachary Young, Offbeat Magazine, May 2011
photo by Elsa Hahne

 On April 19 last year, the curtains at Tulane’s Dixon Hall slid open to reveal the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in the midst of the opening strains of “Bourbon Street Parade.” The stage was mocked up to resemble Preservation Hall; a projection screen hung overhead.

The occasion was the premiere performance of Song for My Fathers, a stage show adapted from Tom Sancton’s 2006 memoir of the same name. Set in the 1960s, the book tells the story of a middle-class white boy’s apprenticeship at the feet of some of New Orleans’ most famous black jazzmen. Preservation Hall is a constant refrain in the book, a focal point in the musical world Sancton describes, and the backdrop of many key scenes. It was there, one evening in the spring of 1962, that he first heard George Lewis play the clarinet. “[He] was my first inspiration, my teacher, my idol,” Sancton says.

Song for My Fathers will return for five nights this May (the 13th, 14th, 15th, 21st and 22nd) at Le Chat Noir. “Dixon Hall holds 1,000 people and we just about filled it,” says Sancton. “I think the Chat Noir holds 150. It’s a smaller stage, smaller house; it’s more intimate.”

Re-staging the show has been a goal for Sancton ever since the original performance, but it took a year for everything to fall into place. The performance will coincide with the Hall’s 50th anniversary. “It’s one of the ways of celebrating the Hall’s history,” he says.

The performance dramatizes his memoir through the use of archival photos and video, projected behind him as he speaks. The audience watches a montage of photos taken from ’60s second lines while he describes his early days as a marching band clarinetist, or listens to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band perform tunes mentioned in the text. Sancton tells a story about Harold Dejan’s Olympia Brass Band; the group had been hired for a funeral procession, but the widow didn’t want to pay full price. So Dejan declared that she’d be getting a “two-block funeral”. As the procession marched on without them, the Olympia struck up “I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead, You Rascal You.” As Sancton recounts the story, the tune is taken up by the band onstage.

At one point, Sancton recalls his very first clarinet lesson with George Lewis. As he speaks, the scene is dramatized behind him in pantomime. When I reported on the original “Songs” production last April, Sancton was in the process of recruiting a young clarinetist to perform in the scene. As an amateur player with a passing resemblance to photos of young Tommy, I ended up in the show. Tom taught me “Corrine, Corrina,” the first tune he ever learned from Lewis. In the lesson scene, Lewis teaches Sancton that song, phrase by phrase, call and response.

In March, Sancton and the band put on a miniature version of the show in Minneapolis. “I was really curious if it was going to work outside of New Orleans,” says Ron Rona, the show’s director, better known as Ronnie Numbers in the New Orleans Bingo! Show. “Tommy did a terrific job; that really iced it for me.”

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band will be on tour in May, and so Sancton has had to assemble a new group. This time, the role of George Lewis will be filled by Joe Torregano. “What I wanted was to get people who were good representatives of the style and the culture that I talk about in Song for My Fathers,” he says. “People with links to Preservation Hall, or links to the earlier musicians.” The group will include Ronell Johnson, Lars Edegran, Frank Oxley and Gregg Stafford, musicians with strong allegiances to the Hall. “Gregg would second Kid Thomas when Kid Thomas got very old,” Sancton recalls.

Five years have passed since Sancton’s memoir was first published. “My wife always asks me, why do you keep going over this story?” he says. While he’s been involved in other projects (including a new record with Lars Edegran titled City of a Million Dreams) Sancton continues to return to the story of his childhood: “It’s a story that bears telling again and again in ways that are deeper than all the clichés we have about New Orleans. The tourist image of happy Dixieland jazz musicians sitting on the levee—I don’t like that at all. I think the story we tell is deeper, broader, more human, more meaningful than the image people have about jazz. I won’t stop telling this story, as long as people want to hear it.”


Watch the teaser video for the show if you haven't yet:

A Letter From Some New Fans

Back in April, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band had the opportunity to play for a great group of students from the Wilkinson school in California.  Thought we'd take a moment and share a great letter from one of the students in attendance.  Thanks for writing, Becca!  We had a great time, too.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Weekend 2 of Midnight Preserves!

Friday, May 6th
Charlie Musselwhite
plus Tangiers Blues Band
plus Shannon McNally
Warren Haynes Band
with The Preservation Hall Jazz Band
(Midnight-SOLD OUT)

 About Charlie Musselwhite:
“Superb, original and compelling….harmonica master Musselwhite sets the standard for blues.” –ROLLING STONE

Harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite’s life reads like a classic blues song: born in Mississippi, raised in Memphis and schooled on the South Side of Chicago. A groundbreaking recording artist since the 1960s, Musselwhite continues to create trailblazing music while remaining firmly rooted in the blues. His worldly-wise vocals, rich, melodic harmonica playing and deep country blues guitar work flawlessly accompany his often autobiographical and always memorable original songs. Living Blues says, “Musselwhite’s rock-solid vocals creep up and overwhelm you before you know it. He plays magnificent harp with superb dexterity and phrasing. The results are amazing.”

About Tangiers Blues Band:

 The Tangiers Blues Band was formed in 1998 after guitarist Chris Scianni (Dangerman, Echobrain with Jason Newsted) and drummer Dave Borla (Dangerman, Echobrain) met photographer/harmonica player Danny Clinch and discovered their mutual love for blues music. The first Tangiers Blues Band jam session took place on Thanksgiving night that year with other musicians and friends, including Huey from the Fun Lovin’ Criminals, King from Cooley High, Mick Jones from Foreigner and tennis palyer/guitarist John McEnroe. The original line-up was formed after that with Chris (guitar), Dave Borla (drums), Danny (harmonica), Huey (lap steel), King (vox and guitar) adding their long time friends Dave Sellar (bass) from Darla Hood and Peter Levin (keys) who had played in various bands in New York City and currently tours with The Blind Boys of Alabama.
The TBB line-up changes from show to show, with a deep rotation of musicians they have known and jammed with for many years, and in many different configurations. In addition, they have many “special guests” who will sit in with them for a night when they are around including G-Love, Phil Lesh, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Charlie Giordano (Bruce Springsteen) and Chris’ father, Joseph Scianni. The line-up on the TBB studio recordings consists of Chris, Danny, Pete, King and Dave Sellars with Jon Graboff (Ryan Adams and The Cardinals) on lap and pedal steel guitars and Mo Roberts (Shemeka Copeland) on drums. The recording was done in one day at Moon Palace Studios, mixed and produced by Tim Latham (Lou Reed, Tribe Called Quest) a long time friend of all the guys.

About Shannon McNally:
Shannon McNally was born and raised on Long Island, New York but has spent most of her adult life traveling and living all over North America. After graduating college with a degree in Religious Anthropology she followed Los Lobos out to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music. She quickly signed with Perry Watts-Russell to Capitol Records/ EMI. />.. Rolling Stone Magazine gave her debut album released in January of 2002, Jukebox Sparrows (Capitol Records), 3 1/2 stars. Jukebox Sparrows also spawned the AAA radio hit “Now That I Know,” which appeared on the ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ soundtrack. She teamed up with Ryan Adams’ sideman Neal Casal around the same time for a collabrative project called ‘Ran On Pure Lightening’. Her song “Pale Moon” from was picked up by Putamayo Records as the first track on their American Folk Album.   />.. In 2000 she moved to New Orleans. ‘The city summoned me. It called me into it’s depths and it devoured me’. It was here that her writing’s innate earthy-end-of-the-world-defiance took on a weight and pathos which ultimately defined the mood and message of her 2005 release ‘Geronimo’ on Back Porch Records (EMI).  Produced by Charlie Sexton, the record got a lot of strong support at AAA radio and on Satelite Radio. McNally toured extensively behind it from 2005-2007, doing national tours with a band and as a solo performer. During this time she also recorded a live record called ‘North American Ghost Music’ as well as a second album with long time friend and producer Charlie Sexton called ‘South Side Sessions’. />.. Unable to return to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina Shannon settled into North Mississippi with her husband and daughter. Her newest project is called ‘Coldwater’. It was recorded with Jim Dickinson at his Zebra Ranch Studio just before his passing. The record features Shannon’s regular touring band called Hot Sauce; they are Jake Fussell, Eric Deaton and Wallace Lester. />.. McNally has toured and done shows with Willie Nelson, Stevie Nicks, John Mellencamp, Charlie Sexton, Son Volt, Ryan Adams, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Derek Trucks, Rail Road Earth, Rufus Wainwright, Levon Helm and Lou Reed. She has appeared on NPR, The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Mountain Stage and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.  Her voice has appeared on recordings by Jim Dickinson, Mac Rebennack, John Hiatt, Rufus Wainwright, Hal Wilner, Wardell Quezergue and Son Volt among others. 

Warren Haynes’ long-anticipated, soul-inspired Man In Motion will be released May 10th on STAX/Concord Music Group. The new album demonstrates his relentless creative drive on some of his most emotionally powerful vocals and lush, vivid writing to date. Haynes is joined by soul and R&B kingpins George Porter, Jr., Ian McLagan, Ruthie Foster, Ivan Neville, and others.

Man In Motion will be the star’s first solo album after many recent career highlights including: Gov’t Mule’s hit singles “Beautifully Broken,” “Soulshine,” “Slackjaw Jezebel” and “Frozen Fear”; their platinum-selling CD/DVD The Deepest End; Haynes’s solo live acoustic CD, Live at Bonnaroo, recorded live from America’s largest festival’s main stage and The Allman Brothers Band’s Hittin’ the Note, their “best recording since Eat a Peach” which Haynes produced, co-wrote and on which he performed.

Haynes, a Grammy-winner and 9-time nominee, is ranked 23rd on Rolling Stone Magazine’s Greatest Guitarists Of All Time list. He is the front-man for Gov’t Mule as well as vocalist and guitarist for The Allman Brothers Band and The Dead. 

Saturday, May 7th
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet
The Treme Brass Band

About Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet:
 Every genre has its defining figureheads. Folk has its Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan;
country has the Carter Family, Bob Wills and Hank Williams. Rock has its Elvis, Chuck
Berry, and the Beatles. In blues, it's Bessie Smith, Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, and
in jazz, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Miles Davis. When it comes to contemporary
traditional Cajun music, there is BeauSoleil. For the past 34 years Lafayette, Louisiana's
BeauSoleil has carried the torch of tradition while continuing to chart uncharted waters with
ingenuity and innovation. Their latest release and Yep Roc label debut Alligator Purse is
not only a vibrant testament to BeauSoleil's healthy spirit but is easily their most
adventuresome record yet.

Since their inception in 1975, BeauSoleil has not only spearheaded a cultural Renaissance
but has elevated Cajun music to one of domestic and international acclaim. Along the way,
they have appeared regularly on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion and
garnered eleven Grammy nominations. In 1998, they became the first Cajun band to win a
Grammy for their L'Amour Ou La Folie effort in the traditional folk category. While they've
introduced their sources of inspiration, Dennis McGee, Canray Fontenot, Varise Connor, Wade Fruge, Dewey Balfa, Amédéé Ardoin and Freeman Fontenot, to new audiences, they've also daringly blended zydeco, Tex-Mex, western swing, blues, New Orleans traditional jazz and Caribbean calypso into their framework. As a result, any ethnomusicologist would be hard pressed to speculate where Cajun music would be today without the contributions of BeauSoleil.


About Treme Brass Band:
Tremè Brass Band plays the music of a people in New Orleans who celebrate life with a Second Line celebration or mourn a person's death with a Jazz Funeral. Tremè Brass Band represents the best of the New Orleans marching brass band tradition. Their music is steeped in the deep roots of New Orleans Jazz. Today, Second Line Celebrations can add New Orleans rhythm and joy to any celebration.

In 2006, Treme Brass Band was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Led by the percussion team of Uncle Benny Jones and Uncle Lionel Batiste, the Trémé band specializes in the jazzed-up hymn tunes that have been the stock in trade of marching bands playing for the city's famous jazz funeral parades, as well as a wide grab-bag of old-time jazz numbers and some hot originals. With Mervin Campbell on trumpet, the band has one of the best young soloists on the current scene, and is an intergenerational standard-bearer for the marching band tradition.
The Tremè Brass Band:
Benny Jones Sr. - snare drum
Lionel Batiste Sr. - bass drum & vocals
Eddie King, Jr. - trombone
Mervin Campbell - trumpet
Charles Joseph - trombone
Elliott Callier - saxophone
Jeffery Hills - tuba
Oswald Jones - Grand Marshall