Pres Hall have become internationally acclaimed for their live performances and recordings. Now led by current creative director Ben Jaffe, whose parents founded Preservation Hall in 1961, the band associated with it has been going strong since 1963. Jaffe also is the Chairman of the Board of the Preservation Hall Foundation, the charitable non-profit connected to the legendary New Orleans club that serves a mission to “pretty otect, preserve and perpetuate New Orleans jazz music and culture.”
In addition to releasing their own albums, Pres Hall have collaborated with dozens of musicians from various genres – rock, jazz, R&B, soul, world, and gospel music. The new album was produced by Dave Sitek, a member of TV On The Radio. About the album, Jaffe says:
“In Cuba, all of a sudden we were face to face with our musical counterparts,” says bandleader/composer/bassist Ben Jaffe. “There’s been a connection between Cuba and New Orleans since day one – we’re family. A gigantic light bulb went off and we realized that New Orleans music is not just a thing by itself; it’s part of something much bigger. It was almost like having a religious epiphany.”
According to PledgeMusic, So It Is was written largely by Jaffe and 84 year-old saxophonist Charlie Gabriel in collaboration with the entire band. Longtime members Jaffe, Gabriel, Clint Maedgen and Ronell Johnson have been joined over the past 18 months by Walter Harris, Branden Lewis and Kyle Roussel.
Below, listen to “Santiago,” one of seven fantastically rocking songs on the album. It’s got a non-stop, furious locomotive groove that draws on the spirit of Fela Kuti, and you can feel the hot crackle of the band’s Afro-Cuban fiery musical connections come alive in the studio with Pres Hall’s commanding horn section, one tasty, expressive trumpet solo, and a bass line that runs the show.
Gotta Hear Song Of The Week, Preservation Hall Jazz Band