Photo by Zack Smith
Photo by Clint Maedgen
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band gets its name from Preservation Hall, the venerable music venue in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter, founded in 1961 by Allan and Sandra Jaffe. The band has traveled worldwide spreading its mission to nurture and perpetuate the art form of New Orleans Jazz. Whether performing at Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center, for British Royalty or the King of Thailand, this music embodies a joyful, timeless spirit. Under its current director, Ben Jaffe, the son of founders, Preservation Hall continues with a deep reverence and consciousness of its greatest attributes in the modern day as a venue, band, and record label.
The building that houses Preservation Hall has housed many businesses over the years including a tavern during the war of 1812, a photo studio and an art gallery. During the art gallery years, then owner, Larry Bornstein, began holding jam sessions for his close friends. Out of these grew the concept of Preservation Hall. The intimate venue has no drinks and no modern conveniences. Its weathered exterior is untouched. It simply stands as a monument to its purpose -- welcoming people of all ages interested in having one of the last pure music experiences left on the earth.
The PHJB began touring in 1963. Band leaders over the band’s history include the brothers Willie and Percy Humphrey, husband and wife Billie and De De Pierce, pianist Sweet Emma Barrett, and, in the modern day, Wendall and John Brunious. These founding artists and dozens of others passed on the lessons of their music to a younger generation who now follow in their footsteps.
This is the PHJB’s first appearance at LJF. The band now includes, among others, Mark Braud on trumpet and vocals, Charlie Gabriel and Clint Maedgen on reeds and vocals, Rickie Monie on piano, Joe Lastie on drums and Walter Payton on bass.