Preservation Hall Jazz Band, “That’s It!” (CD review)

(recently published in Relix)

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Preservation Hall Jazz Band, “That’s It!” (Legacy)

In order to broaden their once-traditional New Orleans music reach, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band have recently collaborated with everyone from My Morning Jacket to Del McCoury. 

That’s It!, co-produced by band leader Ben Jaffe and MMJ singer Jim James, finds the band making their first album of all original compositions. It’s still retro from the get-go, starting with the tumbling toms, thundering tuba and jungle-movie brass of the title track and the gospel-informed swing of “Dear Lord (Give Me the Strength).”

“I Think I Love You” spotlights octogenarian reedsman Charlie Gabriel on lead vocals and James on backup with driving Caribbean rhythms, while the laidback “August Nights” is bolstered by steamy tenor and muted trumpet lines. That’s It! —that old feeling, once again.

Montreal Jazz Fest Adds Joshua Redman Quartet with Strings, Ravi Coltrane Quartet, Dr. John/Leon Russell double bill and more

The Montreal Jazz Fest just added another round of great headliners to the sprawling event’s already impressive lineup.

The new additions: Joshua Redman Quartet with Strings (Redman, left)joshua redman, Ravi Coltrane Quartet, Oliver Jones solo, Nikki Yanofsky, Holly Cole, George Benson, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band,  and double bills with Dr. John/Leon Russell, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings (right)/James Hunter, and She & Him/Camera Obscura, sharon jones

The 34th annual festival, which runs June 28 through July 7, also features an impressive lineup of already announced talent, including the Wayne Shorter Quartet on a triple bill with Soundprints (led by Dave Douglas and Joe Lovano) and the Geri Allen/Terri Lyne Carrington/Esperanza Spalding Trio; Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra;  and Aretha Franklin.

The jazz fest, one of the world’s largest and best, features hundreds of performers playing on multiple stages across the city center.

For full details, check out the fest’s official site.

Listening Post, Week of 2/23/10: Tab Benoit, Easy Star All Stars, Mark Egan, Rufus Reid, Preservation Hall

Five releases in rotation at home and in the car – a list without comment (in alphabetical order):

Tab Benoit, et al, VOW: Voice of the Wetlands (Rykodisc, 2005)

Easy Star All Stars, Dark Side of the Moon (Easy Star, 2003)

Mark Egan, Truth Be Told (Wavetone, 2010)

Rufus Reid, Out Front (Motema, 2010)

Various Artists, Preservation: An Album to Benefit Preservation Hall & the Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program (Preservation Hall Recordings, 2010)

Sco Goes NOLA

Musicians wanting to dig into a certain type of groove — funky, earthy, rooted to a jazz vibe that goes all the way back to the African percussionists of Congo Square — go to New Orleans to find it.

Last year, the Blind Boys of Alabama headed to the Crescent City for Down in New Orleans, on which they hooked up with the trio of pianist David Torkanowsky (ex-Astral Project), bassist Roland Guerin, and drummer Shannon Powell (Harry Connick, Jr.). Guests included Allen Toussaint, the Hot 8 Brass Band and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

John Scofield, a fiercely talented guitarist rooted in jazz but also drawing from rock, blues, and fusion, worked with pianist-singer Jon Cleary and Meters bassist George Porter, Jr. (both based in New Orleans) and drummer Ricky Fataar — for the just-released Piety Street (Emarcy). The album of refried gospel tunes was recorded in the Crescent City.

Sco is taking the band, or a variation thereof, on the road. The tour touches down May 1 at Jazz Fest in New Orleans (is Porter REALLY not playing the Jazz Fest date, as indicated on Sco’s site?) and heads to Europe at the end of June. His show Sunday in New York generated a glowing review from New York Times critic Nate Chinen.

“…it’s Mr. Scofield’s old-time gospel album, recorded in New Orleans with a band drawn mainly from that city’s robust R&B scene. It’s a basic concept, and it makes all kinds of sense. (Scofield achieved) the proper blend of grace and grit. He didn’t sound like a visitor in the realm. He sounded at home and happy to be there.”

Click here to read the rest.

(I’ve yet to hear this disc – but it’s on my list …)

Note to Sco: Please bring the Piety Street band to Florida!

Jazzfest Grids: New Year’s Eve Edition

The Threadheads (Jazz Fest fans) behind Jazzfest Grids, THE guide to nightclub music during Jazz Fest, have assembled a handy guide to music around NOLA happening on and around New Year’s Eve.

Here it is.

If I were headed to the Crescent City for the occasion, on NYE I’d be seriously torn: Galactic featuring Shamarr Allen, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, are at Tipitina’s; and Astral Project is at Snug Harbor.

And for pre-NYE jamming, I’d head to the Maple Leaf, for the Rebirth Brass Band’s traditional Tuesday night gig.

New Year’s Day? Johnny Vidacovich (Astral Project) is at the Maple Leaf, and Kermit Ruffins is doing his regular Thursday night show (and barbecue?) at Vaughan’s.

Also at the JazzFest Grids site is the ever-intriguing list of artists rumored to play JazzFest. Scheduled to play so far, according to the list: Wynton Marsalis; rising-star jazz bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding (My feature on her was the cover story for the June issue of Bass Player mag);  legendary soul singer Solomon Burke; Juke Joint Duo (Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcom); and the O’Jays.