XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “La Malanga” by Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Preservation Hall Jazz Band | Photo by Danny Clinch

In April, Preservation Hall Jazz Band returned with a new album, So It Is, a collection of new songs inspired by the band’s trip to Cuba.

Pres Hall has been at it for over 50 years and their name is pretty much synonymous with the spirit, culture and sounds of New Orleans. Led by creative director Ben Jaffe, whose parents founded Preservation Hall in 1961, the band 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 “protect, preserve and perpetuate New Orleans jazz music and culture.”

This week’s Gotta Hear Song on WXPN is Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s “La Malanga,” written largely by Ben Jaffe and 84 year-old saxophonist Charlie Gabriel in collaboration with the entire band, and produced by Dave Sitek. On it, longtime members Jaffe, Gabriel, Clint Maedgen and Ronell Johnson have been joined by Walter Harris, Branden Lewis and Kyle Roussel.

Watch Pres Hall perform a version of “La Malanga” via VuHaus below. The band returns to the XPoNential Music Festival this Saturday, July 29th for two sets: one at Wiggins Park, followed by a collaboration with Amos Lee at the BB&T Pavilion in the evening. Last summer, those of you who were at the festival will likely recall a huge downpour and storm that happened moments into the band’s first song, resulting in the band being unable to finish their set. This year, they return for twice the musical action, and more information can be found at XPNFest.org.



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