Looking Ahead: Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn to Perform This Week!
Wednesday night, Preservation Hall Jazz Band comes to McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square! The group derives its name from Preservation Hall, the venerable music venue located in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter, founded in 1961 by Allan and Sandra Jaffe. The band has traveled worldwide spreading its mission to nurture and perpetuate the art form of New Orleans Jazz.
Whether performing at Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center, for British Royalty or the king of Thailand, this music embodies a joyful, timeless spirit. Under the auspices of current director Ben Jaffe, the son of founders Allan and Sandra, Preservation Hall continues with a deep reverence and consciousness of its greatest attributes in the modern day as a venue, band and record label.
Check out the video below of Preservation Hall Jazz Band playing in Austin, Texas, in 2011.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band began touring in 1963 and for many years there were several bands successfully touring under the name Preservation Hall. Many of the band’s charter members performed with the pioneers who invented jazz in the early 20th century, including Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong and Bunk Johnson. Band leaders over the band’s history include the brothers Willie and Percy Humphrey, husband and wife Billie and De De Pierce, famed pianist Sweet Emma Barrett, and in the modern day, Wendell and John Brunious. These founding artists and dozens of others passed on the lessons of their music to a younger generation who now follow in their footsteps like the current lineup.
Then on Friday, it’s Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn! Also playing at McGlohon Theater, the two banjoists have mastered the deceptively intricate art of the duet. Their performances embrace a diversity almost unthinkable – coming from just two banjos and one voice. Washburn’s beguiling composing, playing and singing blend with Fleck’s riveting and virtuosic musicianship to create music that’s unique yet familiar in texture. Fleck, a 15-time Grammy winner, has collaborated with Chick Corea, Oumou Sangare, Zakir Hussain, Edgar Meyer, Dave Mathews, Earl Scruggs and the entire Cleveland Orchestra for his banjo concert “The Impostor.”
Washburn’s banjo has taken her far beyond the usual old-timey comfort zone, musically and geographically. An alumnus of Uncle Earl, the powerhouse all-female stringband, Washburn’s adopted second homeland is China, and her music resounds with echoes of Appalachia and the tidal wave of emerging Chinese cultural influence. Together, Fleck and Washburn employ the relatively rare three-finger and clawhammer banjo duet to create an explosion of musical white heat. No wonder that they are married and have a new baby.