Preservation Hall Jazz Band have released their latest album ‘So It Is’ today via Legacy Recordings. To celebrate, PHJB will bring their energetic and engaging live show to Coachella today on the main stage at 3:30pm PST and can be streamed live here. Additionally, the band will have their NYC release party at Highline Ballroom on April 25. Catch some of their infectious spirit in the live video for their single ‘Santiago’.
‘So It Is’ finds the classic PHJB sound invigorated by a number of fresh influences, not least among them the band’s 2015 life-changing trip to Cuba.
“In Cuba, all of a sudden we were face to face with our musical counterparts,” says 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.”
Producer David Sitek, a founder of art rock innovators TV on the Radio who has helmed projects by Kelis, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Santigold among others, offered both a keen modern perspective and a profound respect for the band’s storied history. Upon arriving in New Orleans to meet with the band, Sitek recalls he and Jaffe accidentally stumbling into one of the city’s famed second-line parades. “I was struck by the visceral energy of the live music all around, this spontaneous joy, everything so immediate,” he says. “I knew I had to make sure that feeling came out of the studio. It needed to be alive. It needed to sound dangerous.”
Inspired by that journey and reinvigorated by the post-Katrina rebuilding of their beloved home city, PHJB are redefining what New Orleans music means in 2017 by tapping into a sonic continuum that stretches back to the city’s Afro-Cuban roots, through its common ancestry with the Afrobeat of Fela Kuti and the Fire Music of Pharoah Sanders and John Coltrane, and forward to cutting-edge artists with whom the PHJB have shared festival stages from Coachella to Newport, including legends like Stevie Wonder, Elvis Costello and the Grateful Dead and modern giants like My Morning Jacket, Arcade Fire and the Black Keys.
The new album melds and fuses aforemebtioned cultures with apparent ease, with modern profuction their sound is rich, contempoary and passionate, for all of that the band still retin the source of New Orleanns music culture and history, the result is contagious. None more than recent single ‘Santiago’ the title track to compositions like ‘Convergence’ and ‘La Malanga’ sound bright hitting that musical mark.
The music on ‘So It Is’, penned largely by Jaffe and 84 year-old saxophonist Charlie Gabriel in collaboration with the entire PHJB, stirs together that variety of influences like classic New Orleans cuisine. 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, and the new blood has hastened the journey into new musical territory. Of which, is to out mutual benefit, happy throughout the ‘So It Is’, no negatives, just good music from a different kitchen. 8.4/10
(photo credit: Danny Clinch)
Preservation Hall Jazz Band:
BEN JAFFE – Bass (upright), Tuba, Percussion
CHARLIE GABRIEL – Saxophone (tenor), Clarinet
CLINT MAEDGEN – Saxophone (tenor), Percussion
RONELL JOHNSON – Trombone
WALTER HARRIS – Drums, Percussion
KYLE ROUSSEL – Piano, Wurlitzer, Organ
BRANDEN LEWIS – Trumpet
So It Is Tracklist:
1. So It Is
4. La Malanga
6. One Hundred Fires
Preservation Hall Jazz Band Tour Dates continue…
5/7 – New Orleans, LA – New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
6/3 – 6/4 – San Francisco, CA – Colossal Clusterfest
6/9 – Manchester, TN – Bonnaroo
6/24 – Pasadena, CA – Arroyo Seco
6/30-7/2 – Rothbury, MI – Electric Forest
7/28 – 7-29 – Camden, NJ – Xponential Music Festival
7/11 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre w/ Beck
8/5 – Kaslo, BC – Kaslo Jazz Festival
Preservation Hall Jazz Band Links: