By Kory Thibeault //
Preservation Hall Jazz Band dropped by Sweetwater Music Hall last Monday, convincing everyone in attendance that Frenchman Street was only a step out the door. If you are not familiar with this band or Preservation Hall for that matter, I suggest you do your research and treat your ears.
In the tradition of keeping jazz alive and relevant, Preservation Hall and its house band of the same name are iconic. While the lineup is ever-evolving, Preservation Hall Jazz Band has been touring for decades, bringing their New Orleans flavor to the national stage.
Preservation Hall’s lineup on this night consisted of bandleader Marc Braud, creative director Ben Jaffe, Rickie Monie, Joseph Lastie Jr., Clint Maedgen and Ronell Johnson. As Monie states, “Up until now, we’ve been a band that’s based on a repertoire that’s existed for a century, but that’s the balancing act: how do you honor your history and forge ahead in a way that celebrates your past? We’re not a museum. We’re a living, breathing part of New Orleans.” That last part is especially true. This band lives and breathes jazz music, which is essential to their mission of keeping it relevant in a rapidly changing world.
Personally, I believe jazz music to be one of those American art forms that will always have a place embedded in our hearts. All one has to do is open themselves up and truly listen. Jazz transcends. Jazz fills the soul. I am elated there are still musicians like Preservation Hall Jazz Band has who continue to do so.