Preservation Hall Jazz Band: They’re just getting started

Ben Jaffe, far left, is continuing a family tradition.

Founded in 1961 by Allan and Sandra Jaffe in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Preservation Hall began as a live music venue to showcase and create a sanctuary for jazz music in the city where it all began.

“New Orleans jazz was the hip-hop of its day,” says band director and son of the founders, Ben Jaffe. “To me, Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton were the Jay-Z and Kanye of their day. They were breaking new ground and newspapers were saying that they were corrupting our youth. It’s amazing that jazz has gone from the brothels to Carnegie Hall. But like any music, it goes through cycles and in and out of popularity. When my parents were in college, New Orleans jazz fell off the radar for most people. If you look at the 1950s and ’60s and what was happening in our country politically and socially, the South was still Jim Crow south. The Civil Rights Amendment hadn’t passed yet, so there wasn’t an appreciation of the African-American culture. And that is what brought my parents to New Orleans — their love of New Orleans music and some intangible thing — something that inspired a couple from Philadelphia to move to New Orleans in the midst of something like the civil rights movement. This was a white, young, Jewish couple opening a venue that celebrated African-American music. I mean, this is something that people were getting run out of town for doing.”

Not long after they opened their doors, a house band, known simply as the Preserva-tion Hall Jazz Band, was formed. Several incarnations and 50 years later, Preservation Hall continue to fulfill their mission, with Ben Jaffe assuming his dad’s responsibilities as well as playing tuba in the band.

In their half-century existence, the Hall and its band have never strayed from the ideals they were founded upon. “We try to emulate the way that music has always been passed down from generation to generation,” says Jaffe. “What’s amazing about New Orleans music is that it’s an unbroken bloodline all the way back to the earliest days of jazz. There are very few styles of music that we can claim to be our own, something that’s purely American. The beautiful thing about the Hall and the group is that it doesn’t need to remain one thing. We can be on stage, at a festival, jamming with a rock band, playing in a jazz club or a parade. We don’t even need electricity. We’re talking about some of the most accomplished jazz musicians in the entire world. Can you think of any other band that has an age range from their 30s to their 80s?”

If you go
Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Friday, noon
WGBH Boston Globe
Summer Arts Weekend, Copley Square, Boston, Free
Newport Folk Festival
Saturday, 11:30 a.m.
Fort Adams State Park,
Newport, R.I., SOLD?OUT


University of New Mexico running back arrested for…

By Joseph J. KolbALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (Reuters) - A University of New Mexico football player has been arrested on suspicion of raping and kidnapping a…


Teen who stowed away on flight to Hawaii…

By Alex Dobuzinskis(Reuters) - A teenage boy who stowed away on a flight from California to Hawaii in the frozen, oxygen-deprived wheel well of a…


Investing is easier than you think

Easy investing: Everything you need to know about investing, you already do.


Arion1: Pill-shaped bicycle hits 90 mph

The Arion1 is a pod-like bicycle that aims to take the land speed record.


John Turturro tags in for Robert De Niro…

The cast of the courtroom drama miniseries has undergone yet another shift. Following Robert De Niro's exit, the cable network has brought in John Turturro…


"The Shape She Makes", an "extraordinary treat" at…

“The Shape She Makes” is a fascinating melding of theater and dance in a narrative that exposes human vulnerability in its purest form. Initially, the…


TV watch list, Tuesday, April 22: 'Glee,' 'Agents…

'Glee' Rachel makes her Broadway debut in "Funny Girl." Remember when she was just a high school drama nerd? FOX, 8PM 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'…

The Word

Lindsay Lohan's big, drunk interview

Lindsay Lohan appears to be completely off the wagon now, if Kode magazine's chronicle of her trip to Coachella is any indication. According to the…


MLB video highlights: Yankees rout Red Sox, 9-3

Jon Lester allows eight runs in 4 2/3 innings taking loss


MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers,…

MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers, Cardinals, Yankees surge. The A's, Braves, Rangers, Giants and Rockies are also in the top 10.


American runners stand tallest in 2014 Boston Marathon

American runners stand tallest in 2014 Boston Marathon


2014 Boston Marathon results: American Meb Keflezighi wins…

2014 Boston Marathon results: American Meb Keflezighi wins men's race


How to burn off all that Easter candy

Sorry to be a buzzkill, but you can't eat chocolate eggs and Jelly Bellys forever.


Powdered alcohol: 5 things to know about 'Palcohol'

What's the deal with powdered alcohol? Here's what you need to know about Palcohol.


Travel hacks: 6 tips on living out of…

Lynne Martin shares her travel hacks on living out of just two suitcases.


Tough Mudder pro gives tips on conquering a…

Learn hacks from head designer Nolan Kombol.