Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cityview article by Michael Swanger "Jaffe and Preservation Hall Jazz Band perpetuate spirit of New Orleans Jazz"

Fifty years ago, Allan and Sandra Jaffe founded Preservation Hall in the heart of New Orleans' French Quarter in an attempt to preserve and celebrate New Orleans jazz music and its musicians. They intended to stay in the Big Easy during the civil rights movement of the 1960s before moving on, but fell in love with the city and never left.
     Fifty years later, their 40-year-old son and tuba player, Ben Jaffe, serves as director of the venerable musical institution and its touring Preservation Hall Jazz Band (PHJB), which marches into town Friday for a concert at Drake University. Jaffe, a second generation New Orleanian, is a prime example of how fully integrated music is in the culture, communities and families of New Orleans. In short, it's in his blood.
      "Music in New Orleans isn't something separated; it's part of our church services, funeral processions and carnival celebrations. It's something you either are or you are not," said Jaffe over the telephone from his office at Preservation Hall, which first opened its doors in 1961.

Jaffe, who joined the touring PHJB the day after he graduated from Oberlin College in 1993, said that, regardless of his parents' affiliation with the New Orleans music scene, he would have become a musician. Yet it is apparent that his deep reverence and consciousness of PHJB's greatest attributes is the result of his upbringing and environment.


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