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Bourbon Street Parade: New Orleans’ Preservation Hall Jazz Band Celebrated In New Box Set

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726 St. Peter Street in New Orleans, Louisiana doesn’t look like much.  But beyond its weathered, nondescript exterior, the venerable building named Preservation Hall has hosted some of the finest and most exciting music to ever emerge from the storied French Quarter.   Many musicians have spread the gospel of New Orleans music as the Preservation Hall Jazz Band for 50 years, and the anniversary isn’t going unnoticed.  Legacy Recordings has just announced The Preservation Hall 50th Anniversary Collection, a 4-CD box set which will arrive in stores on September 25.  With five previously unreleased tracks and guest appearances from Tom Waits, Pete Seeger and Richie Havens, the box is the most comprehensive survey yet of the group’s timeless, spirited music, spanning the period between 1962 and 2010.

It’s a testament to the legacy of Preservation Hall that patrons still line up every night to attend despite the facility’s lack of the standard amenities for a concert venue.  Preservation Hall serves no drinks, and even lacks air conditioning.  But one thing remains: the music.   The building, which even survived the ravages of Hurricane Katrina, has over the years served as an art gallery, a photography studio and even a tavern during the War of 1812.  As the 1960s dawned, art gallery owner Larry Borenstein began inviting his musician friends to the building for local jam sessions.  Out of those informal gatherings grew the concept of Preservation Hall.  Allan and Sandra Jaffe took over the Hall and turned it into an institution, and it’s their son Ben that continues the tradition today as director.  Though Allan Jaffe (1935-1987) hailed from Pennsylvania, he became a Crescent City legend when he and his wife took over the lease of the historic building.   In the liner notes, Ben Jaffe writes that his parents had “the idea of…formalizing the jam sessions into organized, nightly performances by the living legends of New Orleans Music, most of which had been forgotten, locked out by changes in the social landscape and the bottom line hustle of Bourbon Street.”  Allan Jaffe even sat in as a tuba player (in lieu of string bass) at sessions, and famed jazzmen from Louis Armstrong to Jelly Roll Morton performed with band members.

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band began touring in 1963, but it wasn’t just one unit.  Many groups kept the torch burning for classic New Orleans jazz under that moniker.  Atlantic Records’ jazz guru Nesuhi Ertegun was captivated by what he discovered on a 1962 trip to New Orleans, and Atlantic would issue four LPs of the original band’s work, three of which are represented on the new box set.  Another Louisiana legend, Cosimo Matassa, served as Ertegun’s engineer for these seminal recordings.  These albums truly captured an era gone by, as evidenced by the ages of the musicians present for the sessions:  ‘Papa’ John Joseph (85), Alcide ‘Slow Drag’ Pavageau (74), George Lewis (62), Punch Miller (68), Big Jim Robinson (69), Emanuel Sayles (55), Billie (55) and De De Pierce (58), and Louis Nelson (59).  The Preservation Hall Jazz Band has always given its due to the elder statesmen of jazz.

By 1964, Jaffe had launched his own Preservation Hall Recordings label; in 1976, he signed the band to CBS Records (now under the Sony Music umbrella).  At CBS, four more LPs were issued over the next decade.  Future albums would come from Sony’s Masterworks division, as well as on the reactivated Preservation Hall label.  2010’s Preservation: An Album to Benefit Preservation Hall & the Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program continued the tradition of inviting musicians of all stripes to join in, and the album featured guest appearances from Dr. John, Pete Seeger, Andrew Bird, Yim Yames, Richie Havens, Steve Earle, Buddy Miller, Merle Haggard and more.  The tracks from Seeger, Yames, Bird and Waits re-appear on the new box set.  Bluegrass star Del McCoury was another guest on Preservation, and continued his association with the band via a 2009 album, American Legacies, joining his band with Preservation Hall’s.  Two tracks from that collaboration also appear.

Hit the jump for more details including the scoop on the unreleased tracks, full track listing with discography and a pre-order link!

Five previously unreleased tracks recorded at Allen Toussaint’s  Sea-Saint Studios make their premiere here: “In The Evening (When The Sun Goes Down)” (1967); “Precious Lord” (1970); “C. C. Rider” (1981); and “I Get The Blues When It Rains” and “Nellie Grey” (both 1986). Ben Jaffe recovered many of the tapes thought lost at Sea-Saint due to the devastation of Katrina, and these songs are among the fruits of his labors.  Jaffe also contributes song-by-song liner notes to the box set.  The Preservation Hall 50th Anniversary Collection is not sequenced in chronological order, however, and has been designed to reflect the seamless flow of the music despite a fluid line-up of musicians over the years.

The Preservation Hall 50th Anniversary Collection arrives from Legacy Recordings on September 25, and can be ordered just below!  So don’t hesitate, and head down to St. Peter Street for a hot time, won’t you?  The band will be waiting!

Preservation Hall Jazz Band, 50th Anniversary Collection (Legacy 88725 41121 2 9, 2012)

CD 1

  1. Band introduction by Allan Jaffe (Live, 1972)
  2. Eh La Bas
  3. Oh, Didn’t He Ramble
  4. I Get The Blues When It Rains (1986, previously unissued)
  5. St. James Infirmary (King Britt Remix)
  6. Ice Cream
  7. In The Evening (When The Sun Goes Down) (1967, previously unissued)
  8. Down By The Riverside
  9. Corinna, Corinna
  10. I’m Alone Because I Love You
  11. El Manicero
  12. Do Lord
  13. St. James Infirmary
  14. Just A Little While To Stay Here
  15. Complicated Life
  16. We Shall Overcome (with Pete Seeger and Tao Rodriguez-Seeger)

CD 2

  1. His Eye Is On The Sparrow
  2. Shake It And Break It (with Andrew Bird)
  3. Nellie Grey (1986, previously unissued)
  4. When The Saints Go Marchin’ In
  5. Little Liza Jane
  6. (True) You Don’t Love Me
  7. In The Sweet Bye And Bye
  8. I’ll Fly Away
  9. That Bucket’s Got A Hole In It
  10. Love Song Of The Nile
  11. Blue Yodel #9
  12. Shine
  13. Burgundy Street Blues
  14. I Want A Little Girl (Live, 1972)
  15. Chimes Blues

CD 3

  1. Whenever You’re Lonesome
  2. Lord, Lord, Lord, You Sure Been Good To Me
  3. Sing On
  4. Joe Avery
  5. Louisiana Fairytale (with Yim Yames)
  6. Shake That Thing
  7. Short Dressed Gal
  8. Freight Train Blues
  9. Over In The Gloryland
  10. A Good Man Is Hard To Find
  11. Nobody Knows The Way I Feel This Morning
  12. I Ain’t Got Nobody
  13. Amen

CD 4

  1. Tootie Ma Is A Big Fine Thing (with Tom Waits)
  2. Bourbon Street Parade
  3. I’m Confessin’
  4. Le Petit Fleur
  5. One More ‘Fore I Die
  6. Shake It And Break It
  7. C. C. Rider (1981, previously unissued)
  8. That’s A Plenty
  9. Westlawn Dirge
  10. Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well?
  11. Peanut Vendor
  12. Trouble In Mind (with Richie Havens)
  13. A Good Gal Is Hard To Find
  14. Precious Lord (1970, previously unissued)

CD 1, Tracks 2 & 13, CD 3, Track 8 and CD 4, Track 11 from New Orleans’ Billie And De De And Their Preservation Hall Jazz Band (Preservation Hall Recordings, 1966)
CD 1, Track 3 and CD 4, Track 2 from Preservation Hall Jazz Band – New Orleans Volume IV (CBS, 1986)
CD 1, Tracks 4 & 7, CD 2, Track 3 and CD 4, Tracks 7 & 14 previously unreleased
CD 1, Track 5 and CD 4, Track 4 from Preservation Hot 4 – St. Peter Street Serenade (Preservation Hall Recordings, 2008)
CD 1, Tracks 6 & 11, CD 2, Track 11 and CD 4, Track 9 from New Orleans Preservation Volume 1 (Preservation Hall Recordings, 2009)
CD 1, Track 8 from Jazz At Preservation Hall – Volume Four: The George Lewis Band Of New Orleans (Atlantic, 1962)
CD 1, Track 9 and CD 4, Track 3 from Preservation Hall Hot 4 with Duke Dejan (Preservation Hall Recordings, 1996)
CD 1, Track 10 and CD 3, Tracks 1 & 10 from Sweet Emma And Her Preservation Hall Jazz Band (Preservation Hall Recordings, 1964)
CD 1, Track 12 and CD 3, Track 3 from Preservation Hall Jazz Band – In The Sweet Bye And Bye (Sony, 1994)
CD 1, Track 14, CD 3, Track 12 and CD 4, Track 6 from Preservation Hall Jazz Band – New Orleans Volume II (CBS, 1981)
CD 1, Track 15, CD 3, Track 9 and CD 4, Track 10 from Hurricane Sessions (Preservation Hall Recordings, 2005/2006)
CD 1, Track 16 from PRESERVATION (Bonus Disc) (Preservation Hall Recordings, 2009)
CD 2, Tracks 1, 5 & 9 and CD 3, Track 6 from Shake That Thing (Preservation Hall Recordings, 2001)
CD 2, Track 2, CD 3, Track 5 and CD 4, Tracks 1 & 12 from PRESERVATION (Preservation Hall Recordings, 2009)
CD 2, Track 4 and CD 3, Track 2 from Preservation Hall Jazz Band – When The Saints Go Marchin’ In – New Orleans Volume III (CBS, 1983)
CD 2, Track 6 from Preservation Hall Jazz Band – Because Of You (Sony, 1995)
CD 2, Tracks 7 & 11 and CD 3, Track 11 from Jazz At Preservation Hall – Volume Three: Paul Barbarin’s Band/Punch Miller’s Bunch & George Lewis (Atlantic, 1962)
CD 2, Track 8 and CD 4, Tracks 5 & 13 from Preservation Hall Jazz Band & The Del McCoury Band – American Legacies (Preservation Hall Recordings, 2010)
CD 2, Tracks 10 & 12 from Jazz At Preservation Hall – Volume Two: Billie & De De Pierce/Jim Robinson’s New Orleans Band (Atlantic, 1962)
CD 3, Tracks 4 & 13 from Preservation Hall Jazz Band – New Orleans Volume I (CBS, 1976)
CD 4, Track 8 from Songs Of New Orleans (Preservation Hall Recordings, 1999)

Written by Joe Marchese

July 10, 2012 at 13:42

One Response

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  1. Fabulous news – their music is so joyful.

    Thomas Casagranda

    July 11, 2012 at 09:48


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