18 January 2010

Rock Monuments - Preservation Hall, New Orleans

In 1997, TNOP made its first visit to 726 St. Peter Street in New Orleans. It was an early Sunday evening in November, and a small crowd had gathered in line outside of the structure, which dates back to the mid-1700s. [In fact, it is a building that has survived city-wide fires and devastating hurricanes over the course of almost 250 years.] The gate was opened and we all were invited to walk through a long hall and into a small, musty room, outfitted with only a few chairs; as a result most stood or sat on the floor, backs to the wall for support.

A few minutes later, magic happened. Thirteen musicians crammed into the front of the room, somehow making enough space for one another and not stepping on the patrons, started playing a true American art form: jazz. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band has been entertaining millions since 1961 (save for about nine months post-Hurricane Katrina) at this address with the distinctive jazz sound that was nurtured in the Crescent City.

As past patrons are aware, there is no charge for the short concerts at Preservation Hall; the hat is literally passed around for the effort. In the latest attempt to support the historical landmark as well as its musical outreach program, notable musicians have recorded songs associated with New Orleans - all backed by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. The result is the CD Preservation, to be released on 16 February. The roster of acts spans from the ground-breaking New Orleans native Louis Armstrong to Jim James and Andrew Bird. According to a special website, here's the track listing:

All Tracks featuring the PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND
Andrew Bird – "Shake It and Break It"
Paolo Nutini – "Between the Devil and Deep Blue Sea"
Tom Waits – "Tootie Ma Is A Big Fine Thing"
Yim Yames – "Fairytale"
Del McCoury – "After You've Gone"
Ani DiFranco – "Freight Train"
Pete Seeger & Tao Rodriguez-Seeger – "Blue Skies (Comin My Way)"
Jason Isbell – "Nobody Knows You"
Brandi Carlile – "Old Rugged Cross"
Richie Havens – "Trouble in Mind"
Merle Haggard – "Basin Street Blues"
Blind Boys of Alabama – "There is a Light"
Dr. John – "Winin' Boy"
Louis Armstrong – "Rockin' Chair"
Amy LaVere – "Baby Won't You Please Come Home"
Steve Earle – "Tain't Nobody's Business"
Cory Chisel – "Some Cold Rainy Day"
Buddy Miller – "I Ain't Got Nobody"
Angelique Kidjo with Terence Blanchard – "La Vie En Rose"

Bonus Tracks (Deluxe CD):
Anita Briem – "C'est Si Bon"
Paolo Nutini – "Pencil Full of Lead"
Yim Yames – "St. James Infirmary"
Tom Waits – "Corine Dies On The Battlefield"
Pete Seeger & Tao Rodriguez-Seeger – "Sailin' Up Sailin' Down"
Pete Seeger & Tao Rodriguez-Seeger – "We Shall Overcome"


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