Louis Armstrong once said: Preservation Hall. Now that's where you'll find all of the greats. Since yesterday was Fat Tuesday, the last day of the Mardi Gras Carnival, I thought I'd spend some time on Preservation Hall & live jazz.
Preservation Hall opened its doors in New Orleans in 1961. At that time, the once vibrant, live New Orleans Jazz scene had lost a lot of its popularity. People were listening to Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Elvis, or Frankie Avalon, not old-time, old-style dixieland jazz. Most of the musicians who were still playing New Orleans Jazz were getting old, and many people thought that the music would die off with them.
So Preservation Hall was opened to try to preserve and honor the tradition. They have been putting on live New Orleans Jazz concerts ever since, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band has been performing and touring all over the world, featuring talented jazz musicians, both young and old.
There is a very cool video about Preservation Hall with lots of great live clips and music on the official website. It's about 10 minutes long, and it's worth watching if only for the toe-tapping, get-up-and-dance version of "When the Saints Go Marching In" at the end. (Choose the "Watch Movie" option on the homepage.)
During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Preservation Hall strongly supported the New Orleans Musicians Hurricane Relief Fund, which has now been transformed into the Renew Our Music Fund. If you would like to help rebuild, renew, and revive the New Orleans live music scene, please visit the website to find out what you can do.
Click here to find out when the Preservation Hall Jazz Band might be coming to your home town. I saw them a couple years back when they came to Camden, Maine, and it was *well* worth the 90 minute drive!
Or maybe this weekend, you could get out and support local jazz musicians right there in your own area. Check your local listings. Get out of the house. Relax. Tap your toes.
If you live in LA, find out who's playing at the Jazz Bakery (they always have 1/2 price tickets for students!).
If you're in Chicago, you could peek into the legendary Green Mill or visit the extensive ChicagoJazz.com site for the scoop on the hippest clubs in town.
Even if you happen to be live all the way out in Maine (like me), there is great live jazz to be found. The Steve Grover Septet is having their annual weekend-long Birthday Bash. It should be a great concert and maybe I'll see you there! You can check out the details here.
Download Preservation Hall Jazz Band's version of the rousing New Orleans favorite, "When the Saints Go Marching In"