Appreciating all that makes America special

Music: Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Preservation Hall in New Orleans is more than 200 years old. So come expecting exceptional jazz - but don't expect air conditioning. Uploaded by Britannica.com.

Take the blues quality of African music. Play it on instruments mostly invented in Europe. Filter it through the African-American experience. Then mix it all together in a port city that’s influenced by the comings and goings of various nationalities and ethnic groups. That’s jazz. American jazz. New Orleans jazz.

Although the building now known as the Preservation Hall is old (it housed a tavern during the War of 1812 – that old), it only became the church for New Orleans jazz when jam sessions (I started to write “informal jam sessions”, but that’s redundant) filled the air with music when the building housed an art gallery. It became Preservation Hall in 1961, and its original members played with some of the early jazz pioneers, including Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong.

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band now plays not only in New Orleans but around the world. In fact, if you happen to be in North Carolina, Virginia, or West Virginia, you have access to a special treat in 2011: The Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s Creole Christmas. Doesn’t that sound great? I bet they play a special version of “Deck the Preservation Halls.”

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