Fifty years is a long time to carry the torch of the music of others and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band has done just that with class, joviality, and a sense of purpose to preserve traditional New Orleans jazz music. In a step away from their mission of preservation, the band has created new music in a hall recording of their newest album That's It. It should come as no surprise that their collection of original tunes is delivered with the same class, professionalism and fun found in their thirty previous releases.
Opening with the Samba tinged tune "That's It," the band utilizes the powerful dual sousaphones of Ben Jaffe
to start the album in a rousing, rumbling fashion. From there, the band forays into their originals of soulful gospel, familiar and comfortable traditional, and some more modern New Orleans sounds.
Highlights include crooner and saxophonist Clint Maedgen soulfully singing his composition of the sultry, steamy tune "August Nights" that beautifully captures warm New Orleans summer evenings."Rattlin' Bones," hauntingly sung by trombonist Freddie Lonzo, is a horn infused tune reminding listeners of New Orleans fascination with the spirits of the departed that permeate a city that buries many above ground in their often visited Cities of the Dead.
Three tunes feature octogenarian clarinetist Charlie Gabriel
, a fourth-generation New Orleans musician, singing beautifully in his spoken baritone style. Gabriel is an engaging and gentle man in real life and it comes through in his voicing's on "Come With Me," "I Think I Love You" and "The Darker It Gets." This album is a showcase for Gabriel and leaves little doubt of his traditional jazz talents.
In a first, this album, co-produced by Jaffe and Jim James of My Morning Jacket, brought modern recording techniques into the comfort of the old Saint Peters Street hall. In the process, they were able to create and record new traditional music with studio quality sound. While the music is new, the band did not stray far from their mission of preservation. The music feels new, yet comfortably familiar. With this album, Jaffe successfully continues his mission to keep New Orleans traditional jazz popular and appealing to listeners of all ages.
Track Listing: That's It!; Dear Lord (Give Me The Strength); Come With Me; Sugar Plum;
Rattlin' Bones; I Think I Love You; August Nights; Halfway Right;
Halfway Wrong; Yellow Moon; The Darker It Gets; Emmalena's Lullaby
Personnel: Mark Braud, trumpet; Ben Jaffe, string bass, sousaphone; Ronell
Johnson, sousaphone; Clint Maedgen, tenor sax, clarinet & vocals;
Rickie Monie, piano, Joe Lastie, drums; Freddie Lonzo, trombone;
Charlie Gabriel, clarinet