The Preservation Hall Jazz Band from New Orleans will open the Distinguished Artists Series at Oklahoma City University with a concert at 3 p.m. Sept. 16. Admission is $10 and the concert will be in the Petree Recital Hall in the Bass Music Center at N.W. 25th Street and Blackwelder Avenue. To order tickets to the show, call (405) 208-5227.
The legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band, now celebrating its 50th anniversary, derives its name from Preservation Hall, the venerable music venue located in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter. Its Oklahoma City performance coincides with the release of a live recording of its 2012 Carnegie Hall concert titled “St. Peter & 57th St.,” and the re-release of The Preservation Hall 50th Anniversary Collection box set from Legacy Recordings.
The Big Easy musicians were called “the past and promise of American music” by Rolling Stone magazine. Founded in 1961 by Allan and Sandra Jaffe, the band has traveled worldwide to advance the art form of New Orleans jazz.
The building that houses Preservation Hall was home to many businesses over the years including a tavern during the War of 1812, a photo studio and an art gallery. It was during the years of the art gallery that then-owner Larry Borenstein began holding informal jam sessions for his close friends. Out of these sessions grew the concept of Preservation Hall.
The intimate venue, whose weathered exterior has been untouched over its history, is a living embodiment of its original vision. To this day, Preservation Hall has no drinks or air conditioning, and welcomes people of all ages interested in having one of the only pure music experiences available anywhere in the world.
The 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.
For more information about the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, visit www.preservationhall.com.