Wednesday, February 11, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Artist:Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Song:When The Saints Go Marching In
Album:Best Of Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Though jazz is an experimental music, there is a need to maintain traditional New Orleans jazz as it was performed in the early 1900s. With the rise of post bop and free jazz in the late 50s, traditional jazz was becoming extinct in New Orleans. Tuba player Allan Jaffe managed Preservation Hall and in 1961 turned it into a showcase for traditional jazz. The original Preservation Hall Jazz Band was led by trumpeter Thomas Valentine AKA Kid Thomas and it was basically his band. In addition to regular gigs at Preservation Hall, they did a couple of tours which earned them a contract with Columbia Records. They released their debut album in 1966. Singer Sweet Emma Barrett toured with them in the late 60s. Promoter Bill Graham booked them to perform in rock concerts. Barrett's health forced her to stop touring in the early 70s and brothers Percy (trumpet) and Willie (clarinet) Humphrey started fronting the band. The video clip I have covers that period. When the Saints Go Marching In usually closed their shows. And as you can tell by the clip, it's more of a party than a performance. Other musicians in the band at that time were James "Sing" Miller on piano, Jim Robinson on trombone and Allan Jaffe on tuba. This budget comp covers the PHJB's 70s material. When the original musicians started to die, the next generation stepped in. When Allan Jaffe died in 1987, his son Ben Jaffe took over and he still runs the band today. And though Preservation Hall itself closed for a year after Hurricane Katrina, the band continued to tour. Their latest CD That's It! was released in 2013 featuring bluegrass musician Del McCoury who has toured extensively with PHJB in recent years. The legacy of traditional New Orleans jazz continues. Here's the Preservation Hall Jazz band featuring Percy Humphrey on vocals performing When The Saints Go Marching In 1973.

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