Preservation Hall Jazz Band: That’s It!

Posted September 6, 2013 by in Jazz



3.5/ 5


Genre: Jazz
Producer: Jim James
Label: Legacy
Format: Digital download, compact disc
Time: 37:37
Release Date: 9 July 2013
Spin This: "That's It," "Deag God (Give Me the Strength)," "Sugar Plum"


Delicate production and lofty horn arrangements are a good combination for band - a sweet blend of old and new. Various jazz-influenced styles experimented with


The theme of preservation mellows the agenda of the new tracks

All-new original material kicks off new album for New Orleans heritage jazz band

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

All-new original material kicks off album for New Orleans heritage jazz band

A longtime staple in the French Quarters of New Orleans, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band – the jazz equivalent to gospel’s Blind Boys of Alabama – has been working the grindstone since the Sixties. And in most recent years the heritage band has provided their blend of zydeco blues and Dixieland jazz to the thrillseekers at some of the biggest musical fests in America, beginning with their anointed Filmore West send-off in 1969 by Bill Graham when they performed on the same bill as the Grateful Dead, Steppenwolf, Santana and the Staple Singers. Many of the members have changed over the years, particularly after the unfortunate passing of creative director Allan Jaffe in 1987, but once thing remains constant: their appetite to preserve New Orleans jazz.

On That’s It!, the band ventures into new territory with an album loaded with all-new original recordings; many set in the style of their former ways. With My Morning Jacket’s Jim James behind the boards as producer and Ben Jaffe, Allan’s son, providing the album’s vision, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band attempts their merge of the old and new. For the most part, it works in their favor. Surely the soul of New Orleans is there (“Sugar Plum”) and nostalgia fans will enjoy the time warp, but the new tunes explore new arrangements, particularly in the solo freewheeling and horn melodies. And there’s actually a host of styles that the band explore, shooting down any and all preconceived notions. For those hungry for jambalaya jazz, “Rattlin’ Bones” – done up with a Tom Waits gusto – may be a perfect entree. At its core, the murky arrangement sounds like it’s been deep fried in the bayou. “Dear Lord (Give Me Strength)” also revisits the glory of the public domain number “When the Saints Go Marching In” without doing a lot of double dipping. Swanky Cab Calloway jazz decorates the fiery title track, proving to be one of the album’s soaring moments. Meanwhile, “August Nights” plays like a classic Coltrane number and “Halfway Right, Halfway Wrong” kicks out a menacing groove that favors Ray Charles’s “What’d I Say.”

The album, neatly produced like a magical jazz hall live set, doesn’t uncork any advanced evolution in jazz, but it summons up the spirit of what jazz is. It is and always has been a free flowing organism, unlimited in dimension. 


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


Be the first to comment!

Leave a Response


Please support HIFI Magazine
By clicking any of these buttons you help our site to get better