Preservation Hall, Still in Crescent City, The Deems Taylor Award and WBGO's Gary Walker

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Preservation Hall in New Orleans started as an art gallery and wailed into a landmark jazz venue from about 1960. History lives in the newly released CD/DVD collection, Made in New Orleans: The Hurricane Sessions ($70 for the deluxe edition). "Most will purchase [the boxed set] for its 17-track CD of old and new recordings and its companion DVD," writes The Wall Street Journal. "But many will end up treasuring the package as much for the accompanying memorabilia: publicity photos and casual snapshots; business cards and invitations; even the first artist contract issued by the hall in 1961—$13.50 per musician and double for the leader, Punch Miller." Other famous players include the clarinetist George Lewis (George Joseph Francois Louis Zenon), who died in 1968. The set was conceived by Ben Jaffe, son of the post-1961 operators, who has managed things since he graduated from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Like his father before him, Ben Jaffe is the tubaist in the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

Still in Crescent City, the trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, 30, holds the official title of Cultural Ambassador for the City of New Orleans. A vocal supporter of the city's library network, he played a fundraiser for this cause late last year and was interviewed by The Times-Picayune. What book does he think gives the best understanding of the city? "Louis Armstrong's An Impressive Life, in which he [Armstrong] talks about [his beginnings in] New Orleans. Also, Wynton's book, Sweet Swing on a Roll, talking about [his growing up] in New Orleans. And, you know, A Streetcar Named Desire ain't bad either." Click here the whole story.

René Urtreger may draw a who's-he from some, but the French pianist struck a chord when he talked about his experiences on the Paris scene at a conference on the jazz ties between France and the United States. Jazz is a music of unpredictability, the Voice of America News reported Urtreger as saying, and he doesn't like it if he knows in advance where the music will be going. "He says jazz is an adventure inspired by the moment, and each song is an exploration, for musicians and audiences, wherever they are."

The Deems Taylor Award, named after the late New York Times music critic and presented by ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), has been bestowed on veteran scribe Guy Sterling. The Star-Ledger reporter's articles on Judy Garland, John Coltrane and country music in New Jersey took the pop articles award for excellence in books, articles and liner notes dealing with music. "I just felt there was a real need for these stories," said Sterling, a general assignment reporter since 1980. Sterling, a native Jerseyan, and the other winners were honored at the ASCAP 40th annual awards ceremony in Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at the Lincoln Center, New York.

WBGO's Gary Walker shared his 10 favorite jazz albums of 2007 with 88.3 FM listeners and others worldwide. Log on to to hear a full track from all the Newark DJ's choices: Abbey Lincoln, "The Music is the Magic" from Abbey Sings Abbey; SF Jazz Collective, "San Francisco Holiday/Worry Later" from Live 2007: 4th Annual Concert Tour; Maria Schneider, "Rich's Piece" from Sky Blue; Michael Brecker, "The Mean Time" from Pilgrimage; McCoy Tyner, "Walk Spirit, Talk Spirit" from McCoy Tyner Quartet; Lidisi, "Blues in the Night" from Ella Fitzgerald and other singers, We All Love Ella: Celebrating the First Lady of Song (16 tracks); Robert Glasper, "Maiden Voyage/Everything in its Right Place," from In My Element; Dee Dee Bridgewater, "Children Go Round (Demisènw)," from Red Earth; Ron Carter, "Bag's Groove," from Dear Miles; Joe Lovano & Hank Jones, "Lullaby," from Kids: Duets Live at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola.

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