If you are regular reader, then you know that New Orleans made an impression on Viola and I. Weeks after returning, we wish we could hop on a plane tomorrow and return to the musical wonderland. Unfortunately we can’t, but we did bring a piece of New Orleans back with us to Chicago. The music junkie I am, I couldn’t just visit the Big Easy without picking up a couple of recordings. Upon arriving, I quickly learned THE place to buy New Orleans music is the Louisiana Music Factory.
I walked away with a couple recordings, but for today I am going to talk about Preservation. The album contains a collection of nineteen classic New Orleans songs featuring the Preservation Hall Jazz Band with over twenty guest artists.
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band (PHJB) is named after the venue it calls home. Founded in 1961 by Allan and Sandra Jaffe, Preservation Hall is the esteemed music venue located in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter. The mission of Preservation Hall is to showcase and nurture New Orleans Jazz.
I’ll be the first to admit, Jazz history isn’t my forte. I like jazz and own several albums, but I don’t fully comprehend the differences in jazz styles. For me, New Orleans-style jazz has a little more Dixie than the blues. Listening to Preservation helped me to better understand New Orleans jazz, but I still have A LOT to learn.
Proceeds from the sale of the project will benefit Preservation Hall and The Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program, one of the reasons I bought the record. The album was released on February 16, 2010 in standard CD, deluxe edition and double-LP collectible formats.
Another reason I chose this particular album is because each track features a different guest artist. It is interesting to hear an eclectic group of artists sing their interpretation of a classic jazz song with the PHJB. For example, Ani DiFranco singing “Freight Train” or Tom Waits singing the earliest known recorded Mardi Gras Song, “Tootie Ma Is a Big Fine Thing”.
In addition to the Ani DiFranco song, I also enjoyed Pete Seeger and Tao Rodriguez-Seeger’s rendition of “Blue Skies,” and Angelique Kijo with Terence Blanchard performing “La Vie En Rose”. I also presume the studio pulled some audio engineering magic on a new recording with Louis Armstrong singing “Rockin’ Chair”.
The complete roster of artists includes: Louis Armstrong, Andrew Bird, Terence Blanchard, Pete Seeger, Dr. John, Blind Boys of Alabama, Brandi Carlile, Cory Chisel, Ani DiFranco, Steve Earle, Merle Haggard, Richie Havens, Jason Isbell, Jim James, Angelique Kidjo, Amy LaVere, Del McCoury, Bobby McFerrin, Buddy Miller, Paolo Nutini, and Tom Waits.
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