In celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month, on April 5 the GRAMMY Museum welcomed the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to the intimate Clive Davis Theater for an installment of the Museum's An Evening With series. The band discussed the origins of New Orleans jazz and the music's spiritual ties and performed a brief set, including "Bourbon Street Parade" and "Short Dressed Gal."
"There's a mix of many races in New Orleans that we call it a melting pot," said Charlie Gabriel, vocalist and clarinet player for the band. "In this melting pot we're able to create this music and give it back to the universe. It's the only art form that [America has] given to the universe. Everything else we have comes from abroad, but this is American music."Founded in 1961 by Allan and Sandra Jaffe, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band derives its name from Preservation Hall, the historic music venue founded that same year in New Orleans' French Quarter by art dealer Larry Borenstein. Under the leadership of Creative Director Ben Jaffe, the son of co-founders Allan and Sandra, the current band lineup includes Mark Braud (trumpet/vocals), Gabriel, Joseph Lastie Jr. (drums), Freddie Lonzo (trombone), Clint Maedgen (tenor saxophone/vocals), and Rickie Monie (piano). Members of the earlier installments of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band included musicians such as clarinetists Albert Burbank and Willie Humphrey, trumpeters Punch Miller and De De Pierce, and pianists Sweet Emma Barrett and Billie Pierece, among others. Since their founding, the band has traveled worldwide with the mission to nurture and perpetuate the art form of New Orleans jazz. The band charted on the Billboard 200 in 2010 with the release of Preservation: An Album To Benefit Preservation Hall & The Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program, which featured guests Ani DiFranco, Steve Earle and Merle Haggard, among others. They are currently on tour throughout the United States and performed at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on June 10 in Manchester, Tenn.
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