Preservation Hall has been a must-see New Orleans stop since it was founded in 1961 to give the city's jazz musicians a performance space and a place to protect their unique genre of music.
"Preservation" (Preservation Hall), which pairs Preservation Hall's house band with some of music's best voices, was organized to raise funds for the music landmark and its outreach program. However, it's these musicians who are providing the gift.
There's a certain charm that comes with the New Orleans twist on "I Ain't Got Nobody," the playful horn arrangements and Buddy Miller's delightful delivery lightening the sad-sack lyrics. There's a sly defiance that comes with Steve Earle's take on " 'Taint Nobody's Business." And there's a timeless quality to Tom Waits' leering take on "Tootie Ma Is a Big Fine Thing," a Mardi Gras number that's kind of a forerunner to all of hip-hop's current booty-shaking concerns.
But "Preservation" is at its best when it captures the magic of national treasures getting together. "Blue Skies" recalls Pete Seeger's unique phrasing, as well as his delightful telegraphing of lyrics, and unites it with an extended trumpet solo opening. On "Rockin' Chair," the band works with Louis Armstrong's vocals to build something new. And few pairings are as natural as Dr. John and the band on "Winin' Boy."
"Preservation" mirrors the priceless comfort that Preservation Hall provides, the knowledge that America's cultural legacy will not be forgotten.
PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND
BOTTOM LINE Another big winner from New Orleans